I would like to outline a few reasons to cast a ‘no’ vote on Proposition A, the fire tax measure.
For 30 years, it will add a $52 annual tax increase to property taxes and on every parcel with the county. In many cases, the cost could be more.
It sounds good on paper. Some supervisors say with $60 million they can buy more air tankers, helicopters and fire trucks. They fail to tell the public that these items can do well under a “normal” day. The wind-driven firestorms of the last five years had winds in excess of 35-40 mph. Air tankers and helicopters cannot fly under these conditions. There is no way any fire officer would put his personnel in front of a wall of fire moving at that speed. Fires in “normal” conditions are extinguished and usually under 100 acres.
The county says half the money will be given to [rural] fire departments. A member of one of these agencies said in a local paper, “We can spend our $500,000…on anything we choose.” I have a real problem with that comment.
The county says some of the money will go toward wildland fire training, but most departments have been training for years. They also want to spend money improving the county communication system. With the millions spent over the past 10-25 years, will they ever get it correct?
The county would be well advised to continue an aggressive fuel management program to prevent firestorms from destroying property.
Retired Division Chief,
North County Fire