Did you get this too? Were you surprised? Confused? Impressed? Any of the above? All of the above? As you figured it out already, another first for me. (“To how many more things am I a Zug virgin”, I ask God, mom, neighbors and strangers on the street). Zug Feuerwehrersatzabgabe
My immediate reaction to anything I receive in German from the canton is, OK what fine is this, what did I do wrong, what am I late for, who did I piss off unintentionally and other beautiful, not at all stressful at all thoughts. The longer the word, the higher the stress evoked. Zug Feuerwehrersatzabgabe. You can imagine… Eventually Google Translate kicks in. Photo, swipe on the screen any text bits and then glance through the German translation. And then we go to the top of the post. Surprised. Confused. Impressed.
Next step is send the bill to people I trust, people that will not judge me if indeed I am convicted for coughing after 10pm, and I ask politely, humbly and aloofly for their feedback.
Right. Pay as you go taxes. Instead of one big bill, here you enjoy little tax bills showing up throughout the year. It is a matter of taste I guess. Some people go for the all inclusive package of ClubMed, where all their meals are prepaid, while others get a Mobile pay card instead of a contract. Different strokes for different folks. Feuerwehrersatzabgabe anyone?
But what is this exactly? From the Official StadtZug site:
According to the cantonal Fire Protection Act, men and women residing in the canton of Zug are subject to firefighting. The fire service obligation starts on the 1st of January after the 20th birthday and ends on the 31st of December after the 48th birthday. Anyone who does not provide firefighting service as a person liable to pay firefighters pays an annual replacement fee of one hundred francs in the community of residence.
Right. OK. However, your marketing, not that great. Just the bill? No calendar? No cookies? No “proud Zug firefighter contributor” pin? A bit dry for my taste.
And what if I want to do the service? Yeah man, I am up for it. This is where it gets interesting. Apparently one can do it. And it is paid. Like 30-45CHF per hour. Not sure how this range is calculated. 30CHF might be for going up and down the pole, when it is raining, and 45CHF when you are saving the mayor or the Burg Museum. Plus free medical exams. It can go up to 4000CHF in a year (again not sure, how much of the city needs to burn down to make that money).
So I just sent them an email that I would like to do proudly do my service. It is not me to pay my way out of important and honorable duties, no matter how painful (yeah right, as if… this coming from a guy who gets his croissants delivered daily). I also see it as a great opportunity to meet people, practice German and learn something I hope I will never use. I will keep you posted, what they answer and what the process is. Do you think I get a uniform to take home? This comes handy in so many ways. Feuerwehrersatzabgabe
I am also volunteering for that calendar. It is a dream of mine since I was a child. I did not want to become a firefighter, but to be featured in the calendar. For January if possible. For the obvious reasons. Regarding the cookies idea, not my thing. On top, it would be weird if the Firefighter Calendar January hunk would ring your bell to sell you cookies. No?
By the way what else is coming my way from this creative Pay-as-you-go tax system after the blue bags, the TV tax and now this? A dog tax you said?