I read with great professional interest the letters concerning the public safety fee to offset increasing expenses for MCSO police services and Rural/Metro Fire protection. By disclaimer, I am a former national marketing director with Rural/Metro, but for more than 19 years since departing the firm I have been a public safety consultant to cities and towns across America, in particular, in Arizona.
Contract protection for communities has to be a well thought out alternative. Taking on the infrastructure costs to start a police or fire department is another important community discussion. The cost aside, it is an issue of determining how much local control community members want. Many Arizona communities have left contracted fire protection and increased services and protection. The amount of coverage is a choice and grounded in well-established safety norms.
The Valley uses an automatic aid system in fire/EMS that is a national model. It has saved tax dollars. Rural/Metro has a long history of improving its services for many communities, based on level of service provided, and has proven to be financially competitive.
Fountain Hills always has a choice, but it needs to accurately weigh long- and short-term costs against the level of protection it desires in fire/EMS and police services. Fountain Hills has more wildland/urban interface than many communities and that needs to be factored in as well.
The pro bono thought I have for good friends in Fountain Hills; pursue choices with facts. Given the geography and location, Fountain Hills’ costs are different than other Valley cities, so be reasonable not only to your pocketbooks, but to the public safety professionals who staff those solutions – don't short change your police and fire, either, in resources to protect you and them.