Election 2020: Higgins fire, Penn Valley schools measures | TheUnion.com

Election 2020: Higgins fire, Penn Valley schools measures

Nevada County voters in two areas had tax measures to consider.

Residents inside the Higgins Fire Protection District voted on Measure I, a new special parcel tax of $240 per dwelling unit, while Penn Valley voters were faced with Measure J, a bond to increase revenue for schools.

Both measures appeared headed toward defeat, although the election results are incomplete and unofficial.

Higgins’ parcel tax must receive 66.7% of the vote. Early results Tuesday showed 1,647 “yes” votes and 1,213 “no” votes, or 57.6% to 42.4%. The district came within 29 votes in 2013, with 65% of citizens voting “yes.” In 2015, a $141-per-parcel tax failed with 59% “yes” votes.

Penn Valley’s bond, meanwhile, would pass with a 55% yes vote. But early results showed 2,132 “no” votes to 1,294 “yes” votes, with 62.2% of the voters turning the measure down.

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Results reflect 37.53% of the vote.

Proponents say the Higgins Fire Protection District, which covers 94 square miles, has struggled to provide needed services on a tax assessment of $25 per single-family dwelling, which was enacted in 1980. After failing three times in the last decade to win approval for a tax increase, the district has left its Dog Bar Road station unstaffed since 2016.

Measure I would OK a new special parcel tax of $240 per dwelling unit. Commercial buildings would be taxed at $30 per 1,000 square feet, while industrial space would be $35 per 1,000 square feet. Higgins would be able to reopen its Dog Bar station, add paramedic services to all three stations, and enhance coverage and response times for the entire district, proponents say.

Measure J would raise up to $16 million in general obligation bonds for construction and rehabilitation of school facilities, which district representatives say have not occurred for “many decades.” Ready Springs School has roofing and other significant repairs, and Williams Ranch School is now 25 years old and has significant repairs required in order to properly maintain the buildings for long-term use, they said.

Proponents said the district has not received infrastructure funding since 2008, and that the state is no longer providing funding for such needs. If the bond measure does not pass, the district may have to consider cutting programs and staffing.

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