The Payson Town Council’s efforts to dismantle the fire department is quite troubling and short-sighted. Starting with dumping the fire marshal to increase budget reserves doesn’t make a lot of sense. Using contract inspectors instead of local personnel seems intended to relieve the town of responsibility and the aggravation of complaining builders who always look for shortcuts around that pesky fire code. Who would do the best job for the community and its long-term safety? The current staffing of the fire department is currently at a minimum by any national standard. To further downgrade staffing and deployment could be dangerous. Unfortunately, not many residents see what the fire department does until it directly affects them making the fire department an easy target when pencil pushers tackle budget shortage. We live in the middle of a forest and fire danger is always present. The town council needs to consider other alternatives when trying to balance its budget or increasing reserves.