Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Proposed increase in fire tax to be addressed on October 12

From your MAC Delegate, Teresa Sitz:
At the last MAC (Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council) meeting on September 14 in Joshua Tree, San Bernardino County Fire Department Division Chief John Chamberlin approached me about the need to increase taxes in Wonder Valley for fire and emergency services. He promised to give me more information in the coming weeks so that I could provide you with the facts about the proposed increase.

I invited Division Chief John Chamberlin to present his proposal at our October Monthly Monday Meeting. He will provide us with details about the increase, explain to us what our options are, and answer questions.

I want to provide you with as much information as I can, but I have received little information myself, so please come to the meeting in October to hear the details from Division Chief John Chamberlin, the man making the proposal. I hope that I am giving you enough information that you are able to ask informed questions at the October meeting.

Wonder Valley Special Community Meeting
October 12, 2015, 9:00 a.m.
Wonder Valley Community Center
80526 Amboy Road, Wonder Valley, CA 92277
Wonder Valley MAC Delegate and Meeting Chair: Teresa Sitz
Everyone is invited and welcome to attend and participate.

Download the AGENDA

We are planning a second meeting on a Saturday for those of you who cannot make the Monday meeting.

Our current situation:
"Service Zone FP-4 [Fire Protection Service Zone 4] Wonder Valley special tax was originally approved by the Board of Supervisors in August 1972 (originally under CSA 70 M Zone FP-4). Service Zone FP-4 provides fire protection services to the community of Wonder Valley and is funded by a voter approved special tax of $30 per parcel which was approved in June 2005 with an annual 1.5% cost of living increase and is currently set at $32.80. For 2013-14, the parcel count was 4,634 and the actual requirements and sources were $342,157 and 150,677, respectively. The 2014-15 parcel count is 4,634 with expected revenue at $150,677. Services are provided through Fire Station #45. "
Source: County of San Bernardino 2014/2015 Recommended Budget, Page 15 (576)

In other words, we are currently paying about $33 a year for fire service.

The preliminary figures for the proposed increase are:
  1. A two person ALS (Advanced Life Support) company including a Captain and a Firefighter/Paramedic costs $1.4 million a year.
  2. A three person Medic Engine costs around $2.1 million a year.
Divided by 4,636 parcels in Wonder Valley, the first option would increase fire and emergency services to $302 per parcel annually. Option two would increase fire and emergency services to $453 per parcel annually.

These numbers are preliminary. Division Chief Chamberlin will be given most of the October meeting to explain the increase and answer your questions.

We also have the option of turning our fire and/or emergency services over to Twentynine Palms. That would most likely result in an increase in our fire insurance.

There would need to be a vote to implement this increase in Wonder Valley.

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