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Proposition A has too many unanswered questions

 

Last updated 10/18/2019 at 12:12am



Proposition A may or may not be necessary or well documented regarding site specific needs of the NCFPD. I have been responsible for facilities in a corporate capacity for over 40 years. Granted these were not fire stations, but I can tell you that you cannot run a 20-year facilities budget analysis and needs requirement without a clear reserve study and analysis similar to those required by law for all Homeowner associations.

We can only hope and assume that such a study is available to justify a 20-year, $20 million levy on the property owners in Fallbrook. Chief Abbott references 11 facilities in his article. However if you go to the NCFPD website, it lists five fire stations and lists the staffing of each, with a total of 19 permanent paid staff for the five stations.

Let's assume for arguments sake that the five fire stations are where the rubber meets the road. It is unclear what the locations and deficiencies of the other 6 facilities are. Let's assume that Station 5, Olive Hill, is not in need of any current facilities improvements, since it is new and state of the art. Subtract the five employees from that total and you are left with four older stations with 14 full time employees. Divide $1,000,000 by 14 and you get an annual cost of $71,428 per employee for facilities improvement. THIS IS OVER AND ABOVE WHATEVER THE CURRENT BUDGET PROVIDES. Multiply that by 20 years and the per employee cost rises to $1,428,5710 per employee.

Granted this argument is simplistic and not in accordance with normal budget analysis, BUT SO IS THE LACK OF TRANSPARANCY WITH PROPOSITION A. I would be far more enthusiastic if the proposal were site specific and detailed specific needs rather than generalities. None of us in the community oppose appropriate justifiable support for our firefighters, myself included, but the entire approach to this proposition and the amount of money and effort poured into it by the Fallbrook Firefighters Political Action Committee makes one wonder. Perhaps some open forums, other than Facebook, may have helped make the public aware of legitimate needs. Perhaps running the election through normal Registrar of Voters procedures would have reduced the appearance of a railroad sham election.

I cannot support Proposition A as it is presented. I think it needs to be defeated and restructured in a fashion that is realistic, justifiable, fully transparent and tied to the ordinary election cycle with adequate public information and explanation. I will be the first to volunteer my help in passing a more appropriate needs-based campaign going forward. We need to support our NCFPD based on facts, not emotions.

Stephen Brown

 

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