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juice to meet the needs of local government” (p.11). During the 1980s, many local

governments across the United States enjoyed the prosperity that accompanied the growth of

private industry, state government financial support, and federal government sponsored

development and commercial activities. Among the beneficiaries of increased tax revenues

were fire departments, which began to expand their role as providers of public safety services

by adding more emergency and non-emergency functions. Unfortunately, the expanded role

of the fire service did not lead to an increase in funding (Berman, 1997).

The real estate boom of the 1980’s led to inflated property values and masked the

long-term fragility of property tax revenues. The real estate bust of the late 1980s and early

1990s brought considerable pressure to many local governments. The shrinkage of the

property tax base has caused problems for many jurisdictions around the country (Peterson,


In addition, many state and local governmental units are being forced to deal with anti-

tax sentiment. Disenchanted citizens are using initiatives and referenda in an attempt to limit

their property tax burden. Daniels (1998) states “Anti-tax sentiment is nothing new but it

doesn’t always take the form of tea leaves in the harbor. In fact, it’s more likely to show its

face in reduced municipal budgets and cuts in services” (p.29). A variety of state and local

laws have been enacted that limit the ability of communities to raise taxes. Although the

impact of these restrictions were minimal at first, the drive to constrain government spending

continues to create a hardship for fire and emergency medical service agencies (DiPoli, 1997).

With the Harrison Township Fire Department facing the same increases in cost for

personnel, equipment, facilities and the general delivery and administration of services, as

other local government agencies, there is constant pressure on fire department administration

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