Guest Editorial : Fire tax controversy?
Last updated 9/25/2008 at Noon
During the first hours of last year’s Rice Canyon Fire there were only 15 engines on the Rice Canyon Fire. Dozens more were needed, but they were not available. It takes huge amounts of resources to fight Mother Nature’s fury when wildland fires start!
Please vote “yes” for the fire tax initiative on November’s General Election Ballot.
The North County Fire Protection District’s (NCFPD) share of the new fire tax will be about $500,000 annually for 30 years. That’s one-half of all the money collected in the district and we get to do whatever we want with our share. No strings are attached. The county’s 50 percent will go for improved fire infrastructure, including numerous fire engines and helicopters.
Former NCFPD board member Denny Lindemann recently tried to create controversy by slamming the proposed tax, saying the board of directors is not acting responsibly with finances. Sorry, Denny, NCFPD’s financial picture is the best it has ever been!
The department’s current budget is over $16 million. There is over $1 million in a capital improvements fund. And there is an equipment replacement fund so when fire engines are scheduled for replacement the money will be there.
What can we do with the local share of the fire tax?
Try starting with two NCFPD fire stations which are “temporary,” substandard, 30-year-old mobile homes that should have been replaced two decades ago.
NCFPD administrative offices are also in temporary quarters, and the 52-year-old headquarters fire station needs to be replaced. And population demographics show a need for one brand new station in the east end of town.
There are plenty of similar needs and all of them cost money.
Our goal is to get first responders and their equipment “on scene” in the shortest possible time. NCFPD firefighters are professionals and are as good as any firefighters anywhere in this great nation!
As taxpayers you deserve outstanding service and you should expect the NCFPD to provide it. And we need your support to keep us moving forward in the 21st Century.