It’s truly a small price to pay
Registered voters in the Quincy area will be receiving their ballots this week for Measure A — a continuation of the $96 fire fee that property owners have paid since 2006. While no one likes to pay taxes, Measure A seems to be the exception. It passed with overwhelming majorities the past two times it was on the ballot because voters appreciate what that money means to them in terms of fire protection and emergency medical response. And even if one were to look at it in purely financial terms, it’s a bargain compared to what residents would pay in its absence.
Without the Quincy Volunteer Fire Department, residents would have to support a paid department, pay higher insurance premiums (if insurance could even be found), and, no doubt experience a drop in property values.
Ballots are due back to the County election’s office by March 6, but it shouldn’t take that long to make a decision and vote “yes” on Measure A.
As reporters, we listen to the scanner and hear the calls for help that sound daily. Sometimes we are first on the scene, but most of the time Quincy Fire is already there — both with personnel arriving in the department’s emergency vehicles, as well as private cars and trucks as the volunteers leave work and home to answer the call.
We have watched as they stopped a house fire from leaping to the next home, and took photos as they saved downtown Quincy from a fire that could have devastated it block by block. We have watched as they treated accident victims, and consoled those who are hurting. We have watched them respond to requests for medical aid and begin lifesaving efforts while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.
Quincy residents are fortunate to have a volunteer fire department that works hand-in-hand with the local hospital, as well as the Sheriff’s Office and the California Highway Patrol. The collaboration means that we are all safer than we would be without the fire department and because the volunteers are our friends, neighbors and coworkers, it would be impossible to find a more caring group or one that is more personally invested in our welfare.
The numbers speak for themselves. In 2017, Quincy Fire volunteers contributed 10,608 hours of their own time with 1,995 hours responding to emergencies, 5,294 hours in training, 2,192 hours in outreach programs and 1,124 hours provided by the support team. And for all that, we are being asked to spend $96 per year, which is $8 per month, or about 25 cents per day. Measure A is a small price to pay and we truly can’t afford not to pay it.