Monday, February 28, 2011
Fire Assessment Commentary
Our mail-in fire tax ballot came today. It's worded a little funny. The yes box says, "Yes, I support the proposed assessment on my parcel for fire suppression services, including firefighter personnel, equipment and apparatus. while the no box simply states, "No, I oppose the proposed assessment on my parcel for fire suppression services."
I went on-line to see how much our firefighters actually earn because the fire tax ballot mentions it will help pay for personnel. The state controllers web site has the amounts for 2009. Two of our three Battalion Chiefs earned over $257,000 each with more than $120,000 of that in overtime. A Fire Captain earned over $153,000 with over $40,000 of that in overtime. The rest of our firefighters earned over $120,000 on average and that's not including benefits. I can see why given these amounts the city manager wants us to tax ourselves more on behalf of the firefighters. Perhaps a better solution would be pay cuts for our hero's. At least it would show some empathy from the public sector toward us regular schmoes.
The ballot came with a breakdown of who will pay what if you vote yes. If you vote for this parcel tax and are a resident you will be adding $73.17 to your annual property tax bill, you will also be adding the whopping sum of $678.28 to the property taxes of all our local businesses and $41.13 per acre of undeveloped parcels like Dave Colt's acreage on Pedro Point.
I'm voting NO because I think it an unfair tax. The thought that a yes vote will condemn business owners like my favorite mechanic or restaurant to an additional $678.28 a year is just too much to bare, and that friends of mine will pay an extra $41.13 per acre for land that is undeveloped is just plain mean knowing how combative we as a community can be toward development.
I'm sorry but given the impact on others I live with I can not in good faith vote for this tax. I urge all city employee's from our city manager to our lowest paid hourly contractor to take a 5% pay cut and pay into your own retirement like the rest of os do. We are hurting too and it would be nice if you could show you understand that. A simple 5% wage cut would more than equal the fire tax. What do you say folks?
Todd McCune Bray