The East County Voters for Equal Protection (ECV), a non-partisan grass roots citizens action committee formed to address the unequal funding of fire and emergency medical services existing in 249 square miles of Eastern Contra Costa County, recently announced their meeting schedule for the months of March, April and May.

On Thursday, March 3, the group will meet at 3 p.m., at the Raley’s Event Center, 2400 Sand Creek Road, in Brentwood. The Event center is located within the grocery store, next to the pharmacy. The public and all interested parties are invited to attend. Future meetings will all commence at 3 p.m. at the same location. Committee meetings will be held on Thursday, March 17 and 31; Wednesday, April 13 and 27; and Wednesday, May 11 and 25.

The ECV committee has developed a voluntary program that would shift $7.8 million of the current $154 million in property-tax funds collected within the fire district boundaries to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD). The program follows procedures outlined in the California Revenue and Taxation Code and elsewhere.

These funds would allow the district to permanently open and staff three additional fire stations with no additional taxes imposed on residents. The special assessments appearing on tax bills would not be effected.

Currently, the ECCFPD is funded with the lowest property-tax allocation percentage of any fire district in Contra Costa County. This allocation level is one-fourth to one-half of those levels that exist in other parts of Contra Costa County. About 110,000 residents, as well as those who work and play in Eastern Contra Costa, have services funded at a level one-fourth to one-third of those levels in other parts of Contra Costa County.

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