Fifth time’s a charm? Higgins Fire District Board of Directors will draft a ballot proposal to re-open Dog Bar fire station | TheUnion.com

Fifth time’s a charm? Higgins Fire District Board of Directors will draft a ballot proposal to re-open Dog Bar fire station

Sam Corey
Staff Writer

MAJORITY IN FAVOR, BUT NOT ENOUGH

Most recent vote totals to approve a tax measure for Higgins Fire Protection District. Passage requires 66.6% approval of the measure.

YEAR YES NO

2015 1,705 (59.16%) 1,177 (40.84%)

2013 1,895 (65.57%) 995 (34.43%)

2012 2,019 (61.13%) 1,284 (38.87%)

Source: Nevada County Elections Office

Four times in 20 years.

That’s how often the Higgins Fire District has tried to expand their firefighting initiatives and safety measures via ballot proposal, according to Higgins Fire District Chief Jerry Good.

Each time the proposal has not received enough affirmative votes to pass.

“They just don’t understand, possibly, the operations of what it takes to get something done,” said Good, adding that residents want public safety services to work quickly, but don’t fully comprehend the investment needed to make that happen.

On July 11, the Higgins Fire District notified the county that its board of directors voted to draft a ballot measure to re-open Dog Bar station and add paramedic services to all three district fire stations thereby enhancing coverage and lowering response times.

If passed in the March 3, 2020 primary election ballot, six additional people will be hired in the district, said Good, and residents will pay an additional tax of $20 per month.

In 2012, 2013 and 2015 most of those who voted for the proposal did so favorably.

In 2013, about 65 percent of citizens voted “yes” on the proposal – falling just shy of the 66 and two-thirds percent needed to pass the measure by 29 votes.

“It’s a heartbreaker for us because we (knew) response times would get longer,” said Good.

The fire chief is again trying to revive the old fire station that closed due to the Great Recession and add personnel, particularly paramedics, to more quickly provide medical aid. The fire district’s board discusses the initiative each year.

“Their thoughts were: ‘It’s time,’” Good said of the board. “‘It’s time to hopefully help protect the people.’”

But the chief added board members are still nervous the measure won’t pass.

The fire district board of directors has until the end of October to provide the county with a notice of the proposal, according to the county election office. At this moment, the county has not yet received any documentation about the proposal.

CONCERN BUT NOT FEAR

While Good is concerned about the public’s safety if the proposal again does not pass, he said he doesn’t want to stoke fear in the community. Rather, Good hopes to provide public safety officials with the tools they need to keep the public safe.

The fire chief said he will be relying on grass roots efforts to create “a groundswell” influencing community members to rally in favor of the proposal. He wants to capture the attention of residents that makeup the 4,300 households and six school campuses within the 91 square miles of Higgins District.

Despite the proposal being a matter of life and death, Good doesn’t intend to scare the community, but, rather, ask residents pressing questions.

“It’s a matter of priorities,” he said. “Is your life worth it? Is your home worth it?”

Contact Sam Corey at 530-477-4219 or at scorey@theunion.com.


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