FULL TEXT OF SPECIAL TAX MEASURE
NORTH COUNTY FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT PARCEL TAX
FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL RESPONSE AND FIRE PROTECTION SERVICES
The North County Fire Protection District is responsible for emergency medical response and fire protection services to the communities of Castroville, Elkhorn, Las Lomas, Moss Landing, Oak Hills, Pajaro, Prunedale, and Royal Oaks; within Monterey County.
In order to maintain prompt local fire protection and emergency medical response services within the North County Fire Protection District; to prevent the layoff of firefighters once the current SAFER grant has expired, so that firefighters are available to respond to all emergencies; to keep property insurance rates manageable; and to adequately train and equip firefighters; the District proposes to levy a special tax on each taxable parcel of land within the District at the following annual rates:
Property Type Rate
Residential Dwelling Unit $39.00 per residential dwelling unit
Unimproved (vacant, parking lot, agricultural) $63.75 per parcel
Commercial, Industrial, Office, Recreational Property $0.10 per square foot of building area,
with a minimum of $39 per parcel
Taxable parcels are those parcels that appear on the annual secured Monterey County property tax roll and are billable for North County Fire Protection District services.
The purpose of this parcel tax will be to ensure continued local fire suppression and protection as well as rapid emergency response services for all residents, employees, and visitors in the District. The revenues raised by this special tax will only be used to defray operating expenses and equipment and capital improvement expenditures to accomplish the foregoing purposes.
If the special tax is approved by two-thirds of the voters voting on the measure, the District’s appropriations limit will be increased by the amount of this voter-approved tax.
The special tax revenues shall be deposited into a separate account for exclusive use by the North County Fire Protection District, in accordance with Government Code Section 50075.1, and shall be expended by the District according to a plan developed annually by the District’s staff and approved and adopted by the District’s Board of Directors.
The District will cause to be filed an annual report with its Board of Directors, which report shall include the amount of special tax revenues collected and expended, and which shall otherwise comply with the accountability measures established in Government Code Sections 50075.1 et seq.
Any property owner who is assessed a special tax as provided for herein may appeal any determination by the District concerning the nature of the use of the property or the calculation of the amount of the tax by filing a notice of appeal with the District offices. Any such appeal shall be filed by December 1 of the calendar year for which the tax is levied. The appeal shall be filed on the form provided by the District and shall contain a statement by the property owner as to the nature and basis for the appeal in accordance with the District’s appeal procedure.
Argument in Favor of Measure T:
The North County Fire Protection District provides fire protection, prevention, rescue and emergency medical response services to our community, covering 125 square miles and about 42,000 residents. It is a Special District, completely independent from the County of Monterey, and its main revenue source is only a very small portion of property taxes.
The District responded to over 3,500 calls last year. That number increases every year and costs continue to rise. To make matters worse, the devaluation of the Moss Landing Power Plant severely reduced the District’s property tax income. In addition, our aging facilities are falling behind on necessary repairs, maintenance, and upgrades. We need this funding measure to help fill in the current and ongoing funding gap.
The District serves the public 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year with a limited number of staff and firefighters. It is currently funding some firefighter positions with a Federal grant, however that grant expires soon, and it cannot be renewed.
The District Board of Directors knows how important safety is to our community, and unanimously urges you to vote Yes.
Consider the following reasons to support the Fire Protection Services Measure:
A Yes vote will maintain rapid emergency response services and benefit life safety.
A Yes vote will allow us to maintain adequate staffing to respond to medical emergencies, fires, traffic accidents, hazardous spills, and other emergencies.
A Yes vote will help the District to continue to provide safety standby services and other local community support.
All revenue from this ballot measure will be locally controlled and used locally.
This Fire Protection Services Measure includes strict accountability provisions, including an annual financial audit.
Monterey County Elections
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Frequently Asked Questions
What is the North County Fire Protection District?
The North County Fire Protection District of Monterey County (NCFPD) is a special district, and is the first responder agency for fire protection and emergency medical and rescue response services in the northern part of the county. The NCFPD covers 125 square miles from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the San Benito County line, (with the exception of the area covered by the Aromas Tri-County Fire District), protecting approximately 42,000 residents. It operates fire stations in Las Lomas, Prunedale, and Castroville. It is an independent special district, operating independently from the County of Monterey.
Why is this new funding needed?
The District answered about 3,500 emergency calls last year, and this number keeps rising. In addition, the devaluation of the Moss Landing Power Plant severely reduced the District’s property tax income. As a result, funding for local fire protection and emergency response services has not kept pace with the increases in demand for services, or with the higher costs for operations and maintenance. The District has helped to fill this gap by obtaining a SAFER grant, however, that grant expires in February 2019, and if new funds are not found to replace it, the five fire fighter positions it covers will be at risk of being eliminated.
What has been done to reduce costs?
The North County FPD has a very strong record of conservative financial management. Below are just some of the cost saving measures the District has taken:
Cuts have already been made to services and personnel.
The District obtained a SAFER grant to pay for 5 fire fighter positions, and is always looking for other grant opportunities.
The District has delayed replacement of aging fire engines and equipment, as well as needed maintenance on the fire stations.
The District is considering using a shared Fire Chief with the City of Marina.
How much money will be raised with this new funding measure?
The proposed measure would generate approximately $760,000 per year.
How much is this tax?
The annual rates for each parcel of property are based on the property type. The yearly rates are as follows:
· Residential Dwelling Unit: $39.00 per year
· Unimproved Property (Vacant/bare land): $63.75 per parcel, per year
· Commercial, Industrial, Office, Recreational Property: $0.10 per square foot of building area, per year, with a minimum of $39.00 per parcel per year
Are there any exemptions from the tax?
All taxable parcels will have to pay the tax if the Fire Suppression, Protection and Emergency Medical Response Services ballot measure passes. Tax exempt properties are not subject to the tax.
How will the taxes be spent?
The funding from the proposed measure would help the District to maintain its current level of service:
Keep the fire fighter positions currently funded by the expiring SAFER grant
Keep the Castroville fire station open, in addition to the other two stations
Preserve rapid emergency response times to all emergency calls
Preserve local emergency medical response and rescue services
Maintain current protection from fires
How long will the tax last?
The proposed parcel tax, which is initially proposed for the fiscal year 2019-20, may be continued on an annual basis. The proposed funding measure will continue in future years to provide ongoing emergency services to our community.
Can the amount of the tax be adjusted for inflation in future years?
No. The amount of the tax will not be adjusted for inflation.
What will happen if this parcel tax measure does not pass?
Without additional funding the District will be forced to make some hard choices. This may include closing one of it’s three fire stations, and may include laying off an additional five fire fighters above the five fire fighters currently funded by the SAFER grant. These cuts in service would result in longer response times for fire and medical emergencies throughout the District, which would need to be answered by the remaining fire fighters operating out of the remaining fire stations.
Will any of this money go to the County or State for other needs?
No. If this measure is approved, all funds raised by the proposed tax measure will stay local and must be used to maintain and improve the emergency services provided by the District. By law, the County, State, or any other agency cannot take these funds or use them for other purposes.
What are the public accountability and fiscal controls?
If this measure is approved, the funds from the special tax will be kept separate from other District funds. Public accountability and fiscal controls will include the following:
All the funds raised would be spent to maintain emergency services
There will be an annual Tax Report, available to the public
Who is allowed to vote in Measure T election?
Everyone who is registered to vote within the boundaries of the North County Fire Protection District at least 15 days before the date of this election is eligible to vote in this election.
What if I own property in the District but I’m not registered to vote here?
Only those who are registered to vote in the North County Fire Protection District are able to vote for or against Measure T. For more information about how to register to vote, please contact the Monterey County Registrar of Voters at (831) 796-1499.
What is required for this measure to pass?
If the votes submitted in favor of the special tax measure are 2/3 or greater of the total votes received, the special tax will be approved and the special tax levies would be submitted to the Monterey County Auditor for inclusion on the property tax rolls for Fiscal Year 2019-20.