Beginning this week ‘Vote by Mail’ ballots will begin to be sent to qualified voters in the Foresthill Fire Protection District for Measure B, a decision regarding a special property tax of $180 per year per parcel.

This is a very important election that all voters need to participate in. If you receive a ballot be sure to vote and send it in promptly.

The purpose of the fee would be “To maintain rapid local emergency medical response and fire protection in the Foresthill Fire Protection District, and continue current staffing levels so local firefighters are available to respond to all emergencies” and the question is “shall a special property tax of $180 per year per parcel, raising approximately $560,000 annually, be imposed by the District, with an optional maximum annual adjustment of 4% upon Board approval, to remain until ended by voters, with all funds staying in our community?”

The official date of the election is July 11, 2017 according to the notice of election. If you are not yet registered to vote the last day to register to vote for the Special District Election is June 26, 2017. Ballots will begin to mail on June 9, 2017. The last day for the Office of Elections to mail a requested vote by mail ballot is July 5, 2017. Processing of the vote by mail ballots will take place at the Placer County Office of Elections starting June 26, 2017 and continue through Election Night, July 11, 2017. Ballots must be returned via US mail or dropped off at the Elections Office by Election Day, July 11.

Local parcel tax ballot measures must win a 2/3rds supermajority in order to pass. A supermajority requirement is a requirement where more than a simple majority of those voting must vote in favor of a proposal in order for it to be considered to have been approved. It is critical that everyone who is eligible to vote in this special election do so.

The argument in favor of Measure B, as submitted to the Placer County Elections office by the ‘Friends of Foresthill Fire in Support of Measure B’ group, are:

“The Foresthill area is a unique, special community- it is one where we watch out for one another.

Our Foresthill Fire Protection District is an important part of our community. Our Fire District has been continuously operating since 1946, working to fight fires, and responding to many other emergencies, especially medical calls.

Our Fire District is currently funded by a small portion of property tax and a modest special tax. Unfortunately, that funding is no longer enough to do the work of keeping us safe. In fact, the Placer County Treasurer’s Office recently published a report showing the District will run out of money in the coming year if we don’t act now.

We need a local Fire District with enough revenue to maintain rapid local fire protection and emergency medical response services in the Foresthill area.

The Foresthill Fire District is asking us to vote on Measure B so they can continue their important work, saving our lives and property. Please consider the following reasons to support the Fire Suppression, Protection and Emergency Medical Response Services Measure. A Yes vote will:

• Keep our local fire stations open.

• Replace aging unreliable fire engines and ambulances.

• Maintain rapid response times to fires and medical emergencies.

• Provide funding to meet the new California $15.00 minimum wage law.

• Save lives and property.

• Keep our insurance rates from going way up - or our insurance policies from being cancelled.

• Maintain local control of our emergency medical and fire response services.

The Fire Protection & Emergency Medical Response Services measure includes strict accountability provisions to ensure that all funds will only be used locally. Annual financial audits are required and annual reporting will detail all expenditures from the funds.”

No argument against the measure was filed with the Elections Office.

This tax will be on top of the current annual Parcel Tax voted in back in the mid 1990’s to cover the cost of consolidating the ‘Safety Club’ (ambulance service) into the District, and will also be collected with property taxes.

The conversation, regarding the state of the District’s finances and the exploration of how they could raise the funding needed to keep the agency operating at the levels needed, has been ongoing for a number of years.

The decision to approach the voters for a special parcel tax was made after numerous meetings, along with pleas and attempts to get Placer County to commit funding from other sources. In the end after studying the situation in Foresthill, and other Districts, the County Board of Supervisors ruled that the Districts needed to go to the communities they serve and attempt to raise the funds necessary (through the approval of a special tax). Thus the reason for Measure B.

Newcastle has already passed a measure to support their District, and Penryn is holding an election at the same time as Foresthill to address the similar situation there.

Of note is that while the County would not commit funding to keep the Districts solvent, they did wave the cost of the mail in election. In the case of Foresthill it is $39,920 that the FFPD will not have to pay.

If the measure does not pass it could well result in a reduction in services which could lead to possible increases in insurance coverage costs that most likely would exceed the amount of the tax per parcel. Another trickle-down effect of the measure not passing could be that homes are more difficult to insure, resulting in a negative effect on property market values. Also response times could be affected if there is a reduction in staffing. If there are not enough resources available in Foresthill they would have to travel from Auburn or beyond to respond to emergencies. And when fire or medical services are required minutes can make the difference between a good outcome or a disastrous one.

If you have questions regarding the Measure or want additional information you should contact the Foresthill Fire Protection District.

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