In recent years too many voters have decided that every tax of any form at any level of government is oppressive and to be rejected.
That thinking apparently held sway in the Mid County Fire Protection District. Voters rejected a 12-cent increase in the levy that would have kept services at current levels.
This was the fourth time since 2007 that district voters have declined to raise the levy.
Now the cutting begins.
A lot of things are on the table including shutting down three sub-stations and selling a ladder truck, a tanker, a fire engine and a fire boat. The operating budget must be cut and or supplemented by almost $120,000 for 2014.
For those who live and own property in the district, this is serious business.
The reduction in equipment and bases will increase response times and reduce the firefighting equipment that can be brought to bear on a situation. Tanker trucks bring water to places not served by hydrants.
Fire boats have proven one of the most effective tools in fighting waterfront fires.
Having to travel from a central location will make that seemingly interminable time between when you call for help and when you hear the sirens longer.
The money that taxpayers in the district saved by voting the levy hike down will be quickly spent in higher insurance premiums.
The amount of property lost in a particular incident is likely to increase as response times rise.
We hope lives are not at risk but that may well be one outcome.
It has been said that taxes are the price we pay for an organized society.
Mid County voters will be learning the truth of that axiom going forward.
While we are absolutely certain that the chief, firefighters and board will continue to do the same excellent job for which they have been known, less money means less something.
Only the future will reveal what the district will have less of.
The increase the district asked for was just to maintain service, not for special bells and whistles. Modern firefighting is a lot more than just showing up with a fire truck.
Firefighters around the lake save lives and property every day in part because they are properly equipped and trained.
That costs money and that money comes from those who benefit from the service.
By rejecting the levy the residents of the Mid County district have clearly said they will accept less service.
The consequences are unknown but unlikely to be positive.