Fire districts may seek new fire tax |

Fire districts may seek new fire tax

Representatives of several fire districts are expected to meet at the Nevada County Elections Office building Wednesday to find out the best way to put a new fire-tax measure to a vote. The questions are: how cheap and when?

On Nov. 5, voters rejected fire-tax measures in five fire districts in western Nevada County.

Nevada County Consolidated was one of the districts.

A representative from Nevada County Consolidated is expected to attend the meeting, although the board of directors has not yet decided whether or not to pursue a new fire-tax measure.

Measure G could have raised $200,000 for Consolidated had it passed Nov. 5. The fire tax would also have replaced an assessment due to expire in 2007.

Nevada County Consolidated Fire Chief Tim Fike believes the fire tax is necessary. “We have to,” he said Monday.

Measure G would have brought in money and secured the district’s future, he said.

The fire tax would have replaced an assessment scheduled to expire in 2007. That assessment, Fike said, brings in $330,000 a year to the district’s operational budget. He said that he doesn’t know how is he supposed to make long-term plans when the district could lose 16.5 percent of its overall operating budget five years from now.

The number of calls – and operating costs – continue to increase, he said. Nevada County Consolidated, which covers 100 square miles, responded to 3,068 calls in 2002 – or 31.6 percent more than in 1997.

The other four districts where fire measures were rejected Nov. 5 are 49er, Rough and Ready, Ophir Hill and Higgins fire districts.

Linda Benson, administrative assistant with the Higgins Fire District said a representative will be at the Elections Office Wednesday strictly to gather information. The fire district has not discussed a special ballot, she stressed.

Rough and Ready Fire Chief Don Gannon said his board of directors is considering a new fire-tax measure. “It’s just the cost of everything is going up and up and up,” he said Monday.

The meeting at the Nevada County Elections Office will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the HEW Building, 10433 Willow Valley Road, Suite E. For information, call 265-1298.

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