My compliments to Mr. Towns for his well reasoned comments (“Old formula insufficient for new reality,” Brentwood Press, Aug. 19, 2011) suggesting the East County fire tax formula is out of date and needs revision. The East County growth since 1970 has been truly phenomenal, and has been subjected to constantly escalated fire and building codes (my house even has fire sprinklers built into it – a code requirement, I understand).
These constantly escalated codes have greatly increased builders’ costs and have resulted in greatly increased tax revenue realized from each building permit and from each new structure. At the same time, the escalated codes have resulted in greatly reduced fire hazards and frequency. This has no doubt resulted in a shift from firefighting calls to EMT calls, yet fire trucks still roll to EMT calls.
Mr. Towns suggested that compensation inequities exist between the local district and “many Bay Area cities.” A growing public scandal has resulted from government officials at all levels granting compensation, pension, and benefit increases to public employee unions without obtaining voter approval for such increases, which amount to illegal tax increases. I hope correction of the inequities Mr. Towns suggests is not the real reason for the proposed fire tax increase.
Tom Coss, Brentwood