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These tax measures are a matter of public safety

Residents in Eastern Plumas are being asked to approve a tax measure to support their local fire department, while those in Crescent Mills and Quincy are considering whether to approve a parcel tax that will keep the street lights glowing in their neighborhoods.

Ballots were sent to registered voters in the three areas and must be returned or postmarked by Nov. 7. All three measures require a two-thirds vote to pass, so every ballot could be critical in deciding the outcome.

While we aren’t generally proponents of higher taxes, we think that when it’s a matter of public safety, it could be money well spent. And it’s easy to make the argument in favor of these measures by simply turning on the television or reading this newspaper.

This has been fire season — both here in Plumas County and across the state. Plumas County has been blessed this fire season that a combination of rapid response and cooperative weather prevented the apocalypse that devoured the wine country last week. Communities from Chilcoot to Taylorsville were in wildfire paths and escaped thanks in part to the rapid response not only of the Forest Service, but to local volunteer fire departments. Anything we can do to support those efforts we should.

And our local volunteers do more than fight fires; they respond to a multitude of emergencies, including vehicle accidents, medical aid calls and hazardous incidents. We encourage the residents served by Eastern Plumas Fire to vote yes on Measure C.

As for lighting, now is not the time to turn off the street lights. District Attorney David Hollister said that his office has seen a 22 percent increase in crime this past summer, and anyone who is a regular reader of our Sheriff’s Blotter can’t help but notice the uptick in incidents. Lights are a deterrent for crime, and any lecture on improving security around one’s home includes lighting. PG&E has just made a significant local investment in street lights, improving the visibility as well as their efficiency. The lighting is uniform and no doubt if the lights are turned off, some residents will erect their own replacements, opening up the potential for a hodgepodge approach to the situation.

No one wants to pay more on their property tax bill and these increases come at a time when residents have just received their annual assessments, which already bear a list of past tax measures including school bonds. But now is not the time to say “no.” Following the first year, Quincy property owners would pay no more than $18.56 per year or $1.55 per month to keep the lights on. Crescent Mills’ property owners would pay no more than $3.37 per month for street lights, and those in Eastern Plumas would pay less than $5.50 per month for their fire department.

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