For the third, and what proponents of Measure A hope will be a final time, Quincy voters are being asked to approve a $96 parcel tax to support the local volunteer fire department.
In 2005, the tax passed by an overwhelming 87 percent, but then sunset in 2011.
In 2013, the tax passed with 78 percent of the votes cast, and now it’s due to sunset again.
It’s 2018, and voters will once again be asked to approve the tax, but this time it won’t sunset.
Dennis Clemens chairs the Measure A Committee and is a strong proponent of the funding mechanism for the fire department. So much so, that he paid the fire tax even when his property wasn’t part of the fire protection district. His home has since been annexed into the district.
“It’s not just the fire; it’s the emergency part as well,” he said of the medical response that the fire department provides.
Clemens breaks down the $96 per year that will appear on annual property tax bills, into $8 per month, and describes that amount as a bargain compared to other monthly payments that people make such as for television or Internet service.
Recently, voters have split on local tax measures — saying “yes” to the school bond measure, but rejecting streetlights in Quincy and Crescent Mills and a fire tax in Eastern Plumas.
Clemens and other members of the committee say that Quincy Fire has proven to be good stewards of the public’s money, using it to provide supplies, equipment, training, testing, insurance and more to support the volunteer firefighters who donate a great deal of their personal time to the department throughout the year.
In 2017, for example, the volunteer firefighters and its support team amassed a total of 10,605 hours responding to emergencies, training and with their outreach programs and community service projects.
The departments’ hard work and commitment has also resulted in achieving an extremely favorable rating this year from the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) that inspects fire departments across the country every five years. Clemens said this low ISO-3 rating should help home and business owners save money on their property insurance, which alone could easily offset this $96 annual assessment.
Clemens hopes that the timely elimination of the annual $150 CalFire fee will make it an even easier decision for voters to continue the tax for the fire department. The CalFire fee was unpopular and didn’t provide for direct firefighting services as the Measure A tax does.
Ballots will be sent to registered voters within the fire protection district beginning Monday, Feb. 5, and must be returned by Tuesday. March 6.
The measure requires two-thirds votes or 66 percent to pass. That is comfortably within the margins of the last two fire tax votes for the Quincy Fire Protection District, but proponents are taking nothing for granted and are working to ensure Measure A’s passage.