The town lines currently defining our municipal infrastructures were drawn before the automobile age. It’s time to find ways to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources by coordinating around population centers and not invisible lines drawn on a map more than a 100 years ago. This past session the legislature has dedicated more resources to continue efforts to regionalize dispatch in Chittenden County and an important study on BIA airport governance (including regionalization) was funded & charged in the transportation bill (H. 736).
About four years ago, I met with a Chittenden County Fire Chief to hear his thoughts on the emerging multi-municipality Regional Dispatch initiative. He shared that if we were managing the Fire Service for the entire greater Burlington Area, we would need about five strategically located ladder trucks, instead of the nine we are now using to cover the same area. Each of these ladder trucks costs a million+ dollars and have limited useful life.
I will never advocate to combine all our fire departments or reduce the number of firefighters, because we don't have enough as it is and we don't pay them enough for the tireless vigilance they selflessly give to our communities 365 days a year, 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There are ways to manage our services more efficiently like the recently passed and now being organized Regional Dispatch to coordinate emergency responses seamlessly across our region. This coordination will achieve faster response times saving lives with better spent resources.
This same concept of regionalization to achieve better outcomes at lower costs can be (and in some cases are) applied to water districts, stormwater planning/mitigation, snow plowing, bike path maintenance, recreation programming/facilities and regional planning. I'd like to see the whole region support revitalizing Memorial Auditorium so that the whole region can support a new Aquatic center in Milton and so the whole region can support a new sports arena/ball field somewhere else in the county. This is our community, let’s support it together.
The town lines currently defining our municipal infrastructures were drawn before the automobile age. We need to have more conversations on ways to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources by coordinating around population centers and not invisible lines drawn on a map 100+ years ago. I ran for State Senate to modernize our infrastructure organization. It’ll save you tax money, and it’ll make us safer.