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August 25, 2020 — Special Election
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Special District

San Andreas Fire Protection District
Measure A - 2/3 Approval Required

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To sustain the San Andreas Fire District staffing of its station and the equipment, facilities, training program, insurance and other systems necessary to protect lives, homes and businesses, shall the measure adding a special annual tax of $300 per improved property and $150 per unimproved property, without expiration, except for exemptions as set forth in resolution 2020-04-01, generating approximately $560,000 in revenue and increasing the District's appropriations limit equal to revenue received, be adopted?

What is this proposal?

Pros & Cons — Unbiased explanation with arguments for and against

Information provided by San Andreas Fire Protection District Board of Directors: Ken Snyder, President; Dana M. Nichols, Vice President

Supporters say

The volunteers at San Andreas Fire Protection District are miracle workers. They respond to more than 1,000 calls every year. They usually arrive within minutes. They save lives. They save buildings. But they can’t do it without adequate funding. Measure A will provide adequate funding to stabilize the district’s volunteer operation. The special tax of $25 per month (or $300 per year) for a single-family house and half that for a bare lot will to allow the district to staff the district station 24/7. This tax is less than monthly sewer, water, phone, internet and cable bills, yet funds a lifesaving service. Station staffing saves lives and property. Our volunteers are unpaid, but we do provide them small stipends when they serve 24-hour shifts at the station. Some fire districts in Calaveras County lack adequate funding and now at times are unable to staff their stations. That means delays when personnel must come from home before emergency vehicles can set out. Every minute lost increases the chances a fire will destroy a home or that a medical emergency will claim a life. Some argue for paid firefighters. While that would reduce staff turnover, paying competitive salaries and benefits would cost at least twice as much in tax per single-family house. Sticking with a frugal, volunteer-based operation places less of a burden on taxpayers. The measure also offers exemptions so that owners of bare lots next to a tax-paying property under the same ownership will only pay the tax once. There is also an exemption for properties with assessed values of less than $2,000. Adequate funding for San Andreas Fire Protection District benefits all residents by assuring rapid emergency responses and keeping down homeowners insurance rates. Vote yes on Measure A. 

Opponents say

None Filed

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

 A “YES” vote on Measure A also raises the District’s appropriations limit such that it may use and spend the revenue received for the next four years. 

NO vote means

None Filed

Impartial analysis / Proposal

Sarah Edwards, County Counsel

This Measure has been placed on the ballot by the San Andreas Fire Protection District Board of Directors. A “YES” vote on this Measure would grant San Andreas Fire Protection District (the “District”) legal authority to levy a special tax of $300.00 per year on improved parcels within the District’s boundaries, and $150.00 per year on unimproved parcels within the District. Approval of this Measure authorizes the District to secure these tax revenues only for purposes described in the Measure: to fund the costs of maintaining the staffing, equipment, training programs, facilities, insurance, and other systems necessary to allow the District to continue to respond to fires, medical emergencies, and other emergencies in a timely fashion. The District must also comply with other accountability measures pursuant to Govt. Code § 50075.1 et seq., including establishment of a special account into which the revenues of the special tax shall be deposited, and filing of an annual report regarding collections and expenditure of the special tax revenues. The California Constitution restricts the spending of tax revenues by local government entities to an annually-adjusted limit known as the appropriations limit.

 A “YES” vote on Measure A also raises the District’s appropriations limit such that it may use and spend the revenue received for the next four years. 

 

A “NO” vote on this Measure is a vote against the imposition of this special tax. 

 

Measure A must be approved by 2/3 of the voters of the District voting upon said Measure to become effective.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

The volunteers at San Andreas Fire Protection District are miracle workers. They respond to more than 1,000 calls every year. They usually arrive within minutes. They save lives. They save buildings. But they can’t do it without adequate funding. Measure A will provide adequate funding to stabilize the district’s volunteer operation. The special tax of $25 per month (or $300 per year) for a single-family house and half that for a bare lot will to allow the district to staff the district station 24/7. This tax is less than monthly sewer, water, phone, internet and cable bills, yet funds a lifesaving service. Station staffing saves lives and property. Our volunteers are unpaid, but we do provide them small stipends when they serve 24-hour shifts at the station. Some fire districts in Calaveras County lack adequate funding and now at times are unable to staff their stations. That means delays when personnel must come from home before emergency vehicles can set out. Every minute lost increases the chances a fire will destroy a home or that a medical emergency will claim a life. Some argue for paid firefighters. While that would reduce staff turnover, paying competitive salaries and benefits would cost at least twice as much in tax per single-family house. Sticking with a frugal, volunteer-based operation places less of a burden on taxpayers. The measure also offers exemptions so that owners of bare lots next to a tax-paying property under the same ownership will only pay the tax once. There is also an exemption for properties with assessed values of less than $2,000. Adequate funding for San Andreas Fire Protection District benefits all residents by assuring rapid emergency responses and keeping down homeowners insurance rates. Vote yes on Measure A. 

— San Andreas Fire Protection District: Ken Snyder, President; Dana M. Nichols, Vice President

Arguments AGAINST

None Filed

— San Andreas Fire Protection District: Ken Snyder, President; Dana M. Nichols, Vice President
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