POST FALLS – Each year it has been legal for firefighters with Firefighters Union, Local 2856, to stand on the streets of Post Falls to ask drivers to “Fill the Boot” to send local children affected by muscular dystrophy to summer camp. But that could soon change as the Post Falls city council considers a possible ordinance that would prohibit people from asking for money in the public right-of-way.
Last year, the “Fill the Boot” fundraiser at two Post Falls intersections brought in nearly $13,000, according to organizer Bryon Smith. But Smith says if the firefighters are forced off the streets, the fundraiser would probably only raise a couple thousand dollars.
“It’s not very profitable,” Smith said. “Some of the other departments in the area have been forced to work in…grocery stores and they raise a fraction. There are options, but it will suffer.”
The city’s public services director, Terry Werner, acknowledges that firefighters are best-equipped to work in the public right-of-way, but it’s copycat fundraisers and people who aren’t trained the city is concerned about. And the way the laws work, it’s all or none.
“As more and more groups get involved in these intersections, that’s more and more of a chance you have to have an accident that could be fatal,” Werner said. “Cars and people don’t usually mix real well.”
The Post Falls city council members will discuss the possible ordinance with staff Tuesday night at a workshop at 5 p.m. in the Park & Rec. Conference Room. But while it is a public meeting, council will not take public comment until an official ordinance is proposed.
If council members decide to move forward with an ordinance of this kind, it would likely show up on the next council’s agenda, April 30.
Local 2856 firefighters want to work with the city of Post Falls to ensure their fundraiser is a success.