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ConFire Places Parcel Tax Measure on Ballot

The Contra Costa County Fire Protection District board Tuesday placed a $75 per parcel per year parcel tax measure on the November ballot.

A looming financial crunch and the potential loss of service capability and stations within the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District drove a 4-1 board decision asking residents for an extra $75 per year to help defray costs.

Tuesday's bid to place the parcel tax measure on the November ballot was not made lightly, district officials said. Supervisor Candace Andersen of Danville was the holdout vote in the 4-1 decision.

If approved by the voters in November, the $75 per parcel per year tax is expected to generate an additional $16.8 million a year and enable the district to maintain service, which is suffering due to eroding property tax revenues.

"Asking the voters to support a revenue measure is a last resort during this tough economy," United Professional Fire Fighters of Contra Costa County President Vince Wells said in a prepared statement. "But it is a critical piece of the long term plan to make up for essential revenue lost from property taxes and to maintain the 911 emergency services that keep our community safe."

The district, known by its shorthand name of ConFire, ranks among the 14 largest metropolitan fire agencies in the state.

It provides fire and emergency medical services to nine cities and serves a population of 600,000 across a 304-square-mile area with 30 fire stations.

If approved, the tax would go into effect July 1, 2013 and end June 30, 2020. Without it, fire Chief Daryl Louder said the district would have to close between seven and 10 fire stations and lay off firefighters.

Wendy Harrison August 01, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Question: what is the average monthly pension of a retired firefighter?
Bud Burlison August 02, 2012 at 02:52 PM
75 bucks a year isn't much to consider for the safety of the community.
Bud Burlison August 02, 2012 at 02:53 PM
budget info for ConFire can be found on their website.
Wendy Harrison August 02, 2012 at 07:24 PM
If you review your property tax bill, you will be amazed at the taxes/bonds that property owners are paying already. The question is: how much is enough?
Bud Burlison August 02, 2012 at 09:00 PM
I'm aware of all the taxes I pay. It takes a lot to amaze me, and taxes are at the low end of the scale.
Bob D August 03, 2012 at 02:07 PM
When someone's house is on fire; go ahead and ask them what their pension benefits are. Ask them how much the heart monitors cost too before they hook them up to cardiac patients and while you are at it; ask them how much tires cost on fire engines.
Bob D August 03, 2012 at 03:55 PM
And how much are the pensions for judges, astronauts, and the employees at the department of boating and waterways? Exactly, nobody cares. Let's quit undermining the the people who actually come help us when we call 911.
Wendy Harrison August 03, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Someone better care about the pensions because that issue, among others, is what is bankrupting the State and cities like Stockton and Vallejo. Vallejo was paying some of their retired firemen over $400,000/per fireman/per year in pensions. That is NOT sustainable, as has been proven. So, when an agency is asking taxpayers to ante up on their taxes, the cost of pensions is a valid concern. When property taxes, sales taxes, utility taxes, income taxes, state taxes, etc, are added up, most taxpayers are paying between 30 - 50% of their income toward taxes. That is NOT fine with me.
Bob D August 03, 2012 at 05:16 PM
How much is our social security burden? That's not sustainable either. Public employees don't pay into social security therefore they don't receive it either. So I've heard they think our system is just as screwed up. How about if everyone just starts working for free? Problem solved.
Wendy Harrison August 03, 2012 at 05:28 PM
Social Security is a tax. Workers who work for the private sector MUST pay this tax. However, the money that public employees receive in their pensions are taxpayers' money.
Bud Burlison August 03, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Gee that's strange. I receive a small CalPers pension, and I paid my wages into that fund. So, I funded it with my property. I'm looking all over the place to find the citation for that $400,000 Vallejo number. Could Ms. Harrison provide a site where I might find it? Thanks
Wendy Harrison August 03, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Bud, your wages that you put into your pension were paid for by the taxpayers. That's the difference between the public and private sector.
Wendy Harrison August 03, 2012 at 06:09 PM
My source for the fireman's pension is a citizen of Vallejo who was very involved in the bankruptcy proceedings. That's all I can say. However, if you Google "vallejo bankruptcy firefighters pension", you will find several articles that explain how the pension system worked in the city.
Bud Burlison August 03, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Pretty mysterious sources, I'd say. The google site doesn't seem to show that $400,000 number anywhere. Honestly, Ms Harrison, I probably don't need a lot of instruction in "how pensions work' and the status of my wages when I invested them in Calpers. I'm just interested in the credibility of your information.
Wendy Harrison August 03, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Well, you can just call me Senator Harry Reid.
Bud Burlison August 03, 2012 at 09:02 PM
More like Paul Ryan.
Bud Burlison August 04, 2012 at 03:17 AM
I think it's important that the point of this blog is whether the voters think it's important for their public safety to; either vote for the parcel tax (which will maintain the present safety level) or; vote against it. A vote against it will guarantee a diminished level of agency response, and a diminshed level of public safety that those who vote against are responsible for. Know your neighbors. Ask them if they feel personally responsible for your public safety.If you vote in favor of the parcel tax, you may tell them that you are a caring neighbor and their welfare is in your best interest.
WENDY LACK August 04, 2012 at 05:47 AM
There are some links on the county taxpayers association website that you might find of interest -- especially the list of the 200+ firefighters with pensions over $100K: http://cocotax.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1369648

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