Supervisors send fire tax to November ballot
Last updated 8/14/2008 at Noon
SAN DIEGO — A ballot proposal seeking to create a regional fire agency to enhance firefighting resources and services – funded by a countywide parcel tax – received unanimous support from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on August 6.
The ballot measure will be decided by voters on the November 4 general election and requires a two-thirds vote of the public to pass.
The ballot measure would form the San Diego Regional Fire Protection Agency, governed by a 10-member board, along with levying a countywide tax of $52 per parcel. The tax would generate about $50 million a year to fight fires and includes a maintenance of effort agreement.
The fire agency would get 50 percent of the tax to use for regional firefighting efforts, which proposes a cap on administrative costs of 10 percent. The other 50 percent would be returned to each local fire agency.
At the August 6 hearing, Supervisor Pam Slater-Price took exception to removing the proposed spending plan presented and the lack of regional brush clearance in the plan. She asked and was denied a motion to limit the fire agency staff to six and reduce the proposed administrative cost cap to six percent.
The 10-member agency board of directors would be comprised of the mayor of the City of San Diego; a county supervisor who represents the backcountry; four city members representing North Inland, North Coastal, East and South County; and four fire protection district representatives.
The agency board would also include five non-voting members from Cal Fire, US Fish & Wildlife, the US Navy, the Marine Corps and the Indian reservation fire departments.
The County of San Diego will spend nearly $19 million this fiscal year on fire protection without the ballot-bound parcel tax.