County inches closer to putting new f...

County inches closer to putting new fire tax on ballot

There are 41 comments on the Santa Cruz Sentinel story from Sep 17, 2010, titled County inches closer to putting new fire tax on ballot. In it, Santa Cruz Sentinel reports that:

The campaign for a new tax to boost county fire service got its unofficial start this week.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Santa Cruz Sentinel.

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Dave

Yuba City, CA

#1 Sep 17, 2010
Voters should be aware this will be a for ever tax. Not just one or two year thing to get over the budget hump.
Steve Hartman

AOL

#2 Sep 17, 2010
Doesn't it figure? The County wants to help themselves to more of your money to fund essential services, while they use the money they've already heisted to pay fat retirrements they never gave you a say in.

You need to say NO to the new tax and let them know in no uncertain terms that essential services are to be funded with the current level of taxation before anything else.
Capitola Resident

Redwood City, CA

#3 Sep 17, 2010
Just how much money do these fire guys want? Aren't bloated pensions enough to be satisfied that offer a worker near full pay and medical in retirement sometimes at just around 50 years old?
John Galt

Santa Cruz, CA

#4 Sep 17, 2010
The planning for a tax or fee increase has been underway for over a year.

If it were announced that a decision had actually been made to seek a fee increase, then the expense of a “public education” program just might be considered to be an illegal use of public funds for electioneering purposes.

A “public opinion poll” taken earlier in the year at a cost approaching $30,000 is thought to indicate that a fee increase for fire services MIGHT be approved if voters are properly “educated” in advance of the vote.

See: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_15019860...

Most importantly, a tax or fee increase is NOT NEEDED to properly fund County Fire. The needed funds are already in the hands of the County.

In 1993, the voters of the State and of Santa Cruz County approved Proposition 172, a one-half cent sales tax that, we were told, would provide the needed funds for Public Safety including FIRE SERVICES.

The text of Proposition 172 may be found at:
http://holmes.uchastings.edu/cgi-bin/starfind...

Santa Cruz County expects to receive just over $13,000,000 (thirteen million) dollars in Proposition 172 Public Safety funds this year (down from just over sixteen million in 2005/2006).

See: http://sccounty01.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/prop_bu...

The problem is that the County chooses to NOT FUND fire services from Proposition 172 funds to any significant extent. Of the 13 Million for Public Safety this year, NONE of those funds are allocated to the Fire Service. Over the past 13 years, a minuscule portion of Proposition 172 Public Safety funds has gone to Fire Service.

The 2007-2008 County Grand Jury concluded that:
“Proposition 172 funds seem disproportionately distributed”.

See “What is County Fire”, the Grand Jury report located at:
http://www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/grandjury/GJ20...

We were promised, if we voted for Proposition 172, then funding would be available for Fire Services. That did not happen.

The County needs to save the “education” money, cancel any fee increase plans and deliver on the promise of Proposition 172.
Ex Dem

Santa Cruz, CA

#5 Sep 17, 2010
NO vote from me.

Sorry Sups, NO more TAX increases! Try cutting 25% of the overly-bloated city and county staff, then use some of that money to fund it.

Don't keep taking more of the people's money--we're hurting already as it is in this brutal economic climate. And there's no sign it's getting better anytime soon.
Follow the money

San Francisco, CA

#6 Sep 17, 2010
County government thinking: Hmmm, how should we pose this? As a tax to fund raises for Mauriello and the superviors, which will leave more money available to divert to the firefighters? Or a tax to fund the firefighters, which will leave more funds available to divert for Mauriello and the supes raises? Hmmm....
Arnold Versaw

United States

#7 Sep 17, 2010
A county fee to hire state firefighters? You must be kidding! Pay them by the fire and the cost saving will be significant.
The state of California should be addressing this issue not county supervisors.
HereWeGoAgain

Boulder Creek, CA

#8 Sep 17, 2010
NO MORE TAXES! Everyone seems to think the problems are prop 13 and we have the lowest property taxes of anywhere. Well, not so. Our property taxes as a percent of income are in the top 20. Of course everyone knows we have the highest income tax, highest sales tax, highest utility tax, highest gasoline tax not to mention the hidden taxes these clever rats have put in place.
We need to cut spending, a good place to start would be the police and fire 3% per year retirement instead of the 2% the other county workers get. Getting rid of unions would be another approach.
Posting FROM Santa Cruz

Alameda, CA

#9 Sep 17, 2010
The voters voted down another tax to fund more government firefighters in 2007. The County sups (like spend and tax Coonerty) will not take no for an answer. They will keep forcing another vote until they get the "right" outcome, more taxes.

You may have noticed Bonny Doon fire bumper stickers. The sticker says "Bonny Doon Fire, What ever it takes". This sounds like Chicago politics. Oh, and by the way the Bonny Doon volunteers say that only they are qualified to hold the position of firefighter, no civil service exams or hiring will be allowed. Only BDers know the geography. Of course when BD volunteers take firefighter tests for other departments outside BD then geography is no lomger a concern.

Vote NO, NO, NO on new Fire taxes.
roughrider

Santa Cruz, CA

#10 Sep 17, 2010
Thank you John Galt, for providing the truth, it's too bad not all affected citizens read the comment section provided by Topix. Please do take the time to write a letter to the editor about this county tax scheme.

I am so disgusted with the supervisors, their lies and their attitude of "stick it to the rural citizens".

Shame on them once again.
Whatever

Campbell, CA

#11 Sep 17, 2010
It's either public safety or it's the 'children' but in the end neither of those two items are funded with the new tax it's just reallocated to whatever the county stupidvisors want to fund i.e their pet projects aka the homeless, artists, dubious new employees with no last name, Save the Red Nosed Hamster Society etc. The reality is that they can't cut public safety by law so this tax is just another attempt at creating a slush fund for them to reward their supporters with on your back. Say NO to any and all tax increases.
Ex Liberal

Chicago, IL

#12 Sep 17, 2010
Come on all you Democrat Liberal-Progressive-Socialists , let's get out the support to raise taxes to pay for all those government union jobs, underfunded socialist free servivces and all those lovely entitlement services you have learned to love and expect all these years!

Come on now and join me:

Raise my taxes!
Raise my taxes!
Raise my taxes!
WildFire

Petaluma, CA

#13 Sep 17, 2010
The money was already there...County Admin decided to give themselves a raise...a 5% reduction in County Management pay would
provide the necessary funding...they just don't get it!!!
Wrangler

Birds Landing, CA

#14 Sep 17, 2010
Seriously??? Have you guys counted the number of Fire Chiefs, Assistant Fire Chiefs, Division Chiefs, and Captains???? They all make between $150,000 and $200,000. There are also multiple staff and support positions and the lower ranks - Leiutenants and Fire Fighters, are well paid and do most of the work. So, take a close look before adding a tax for agencies that already have inflated and redundant titles and salaries.
durp

Hayward, CA

#15 Sep 17, 2010
I'm actually for this since 2/3 vote requires it to be spent on Fire. But only AFTER prop 172 is REMOVED. Why would we want to be doubled taxed for the same service? Especially since the prop 172 money is not being spent on Fire.
Jack

United States

#16 Sep 17, 2010
Wrangler wrote:
Seriously??? Have you guys counted the number of Fire Chiefs, Assistant Fire Chiefs, Division Chiefs, and Captains???? They all make between $150,000 and $200,000. There are also multiple staff and support positions and the lower ranks - Leiutenants and Fire Fighters, are well paid and do most of the work. So, take a close look before adding a tax for agencies that already have inflated and redundant titles and salaries.
This is not about increasing salaries and benefits. This is about funding Santa Cruz County Fire to stay in operation. The County only pays for fire protection six to seven months during the year. The rest of the time the State is providing fire protection and picking up the tab during fire season. County Fire has been operating on the same budget for decades. Cal Fire Chiefs, Captains etc. do not make anything close to the salaries mentioned above.
tax cutter

Watsonville, CA

#17 Sep 17, 2010
I have been in public safety for a long time in this county and I say vote this tax down. The county needs to cut non essential services before they start to tax. they also need to trim all of the public safety admin. The first step is to cut the almost 3 million dollars the county gives to nonprofits. Second cut Health and human services by 100 emplyees. Third cut one asst. cheif, three lieutenants, and eight sergeants at the sheriffs dept. by cutting those positions you can have 12 deputies patroling the streets. And last make on county fire department. One chief to run it. That would cut admin and our costs. 90 percent of all fire calls are medical, so make most of the fire department voluteer. Have citizens find the waste in government and then make the cuts if they are realistic.
TAX IS RIGHT

Berkeley, CA

#18 Sep 17, 2010
What is wrong with you people? Can't you read? This tax is for the people who live in the rural parts of the county. I live in Santa Cruz City and pay my taxes. The people in Bonny Doon and other areas don't pay my taxes BUT they want fire protection THAT I PAY FOR. This is not fair. If you want fire protection...PAY FOR IT!just like the rest of us! This tax is fair and it's right. I'll support it!
Another Dooner

Alviso, CA

#19 Sep 17, 2010
Look, Supes:$120 per household is far too low a fee. It SHOULD be higher. But wasting taxpayer money to hire a private consultant from out of town to "educate" the electorate (how arrogant and condescending of you all!) is no way to win anyone over to the idea of a fee hike. And trying to slip this in via the easier route of a parcel tax is just wrong. After that LAFCO kerfluffle over whether Bonny Doon can establish a fire district, and after being throughly turned off by the districting proponents, my trust level is near zero right now when it comes to all things fire. I am willing to pay more for year-round coverage. But I do not want to be manipulated or tricked into paying for something that I will not get in the end.
Cut Fire Department Staff

Berkeley, CA

#20 Sep 17, 2010
We need to reduce the fire department staffing levels. Not increase it. How? Stop sending them to medical emergencies. Instead send an ambulance with a EMT and transport the person to the hospital. That's where they're going to go anyway.

Just have the fire department respond to fires and car wrecks. PROBLEM SOLVED. Smaller staff and millions of dollars saved. We could get by with half the amount of fire fighters we have now anyway.

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