I would like to provide input as a member of the public for your consideration. I have read and followed the issues. My opinions are based on the information from documents, not hearsay.
I do sincerely believe that financial relief for the district is essential to its success. I also believe that where and how funds are spent will play a huge part of the ballot measure success, too. Of course, we will not know until the residents respond on the ballot. Please consider or reconsider the following issues when finalizing your ballot measure:
1. Most important would be the verbiage that defines what a “developed parcel” is. The past 20 years have allowed mitigation loopholes for rampant development in the Fire Suppression area. The under-mitigated developments, along with other facets of under-funding, have placed the district in financial ill health. Please close the loophole and describe parcels that have a parcel number or are in the process getting of a parcel number developed to participate fully in the tax.
2. Paramedics on the engines are complimentary to the fire service provided and generally a good idea. In this case, please consider working with County Health Services to continue QRVs until the fifth year, when the funds from the tax become sufficient. The delay of implementing paramedics for a few years will allow other immediate needs addressed today.
3. The 5-percent-increase clause with no sunset is a concern. The ECCFPD has many fixed-income residents. I think this places a hardship on those people. It is also not a very good selling point for passage of the measure. An alternative to consider would be tying the 5-percent increase to the assessed parcel valuations and Prop 13. A recalculation of the total value in real property each year would create an average. If that average increases, that increase would be deducted from the 5-percent increase. If that value does not increase or goes down the 5 percent would remain at the maximum.
4. Reopen all closed stations and upgrade existing stations for at least three firefighters per engine. In Oakley, add a second engine and crew and/or build another station.
5. I just read that another wave of multi-story, low-income units will be constructed in Oakley. This along with all the other multi-story buildings in the district is a disaster in the making. Please consider a part of this tax as a priority to purchase and house a ladder truck, and train firefighters for it.
These are the main concerns that I respectfully ask you to consider when finalizing your effort to pass this ballot measure.
John A. Gonzales, Knightsen