The way Sheriff Greg Hagwood sees it, there are four key elements that are the cornerstone of any community: schools, hospitals, law enforcement and fire departments. And it’s the latter that is currently generating the most interest locally as registered voters in the Quincy Fire Protection District are being asked to extend a $96 tax, which property owners have been paying since 2006.
Measure A ballots should be in mailboxes this week and must be returned or postmarked by March 6 to be counted. The measure requires a two-thirds “yes” vote to pass.
Previous measures for the fire district were passed by 87 percent in 2005 and 78 percent in 2013.
But if Measure A passes, it will be the last time the tax will be put to a vote. Unlike the past measures, which sunset after five years, this tax is permanent, thus avoiding the need to pay for an election, which costs the fire district approximately $15,000. It also includes an inflation adjustment, not to exceed 2 percent annually.
“We’re so interdependent,” Hagwood said of the relationship between his office and the fire department, as well as the California Highway Patrol and Plumas District Hospital.
He explained that when a 911 call comes in, dispatchers page out fire and an ambulance, while simultaneously dispatching a deputy. “We are so dependent on one another,” he said. “And those relationships result in saving lives and preventing harm.”
Hagwood wants the public to be aware of the dynamic and to not take the fire department for granted. While his staff is paid, as well as those of the hospital and the CHP, the fire department relies on volunteers.
“The people in Quincy have enjoyed the quality of service from their fire department for generations,” he said. “It’s almost become an expected reality. We really need to take note of our good fortune.”
It’s a fortune that he hopes can be continued with support for Measure A.
“Eight dollars a month is an amazing return on investment,” Hagwood said.