Higgins Fire tax measure fails to garner two-thirds vote | TheUnion.com

Higgins Fire tax measure fails to garner two-thirds vote

Nevada County officially certified the March 3 election results Friday, and Measure I failed to reach the two-thirds margin it needed to pass.

The Higgins Fire Protection District’s tax measure garnered 2,783 “yes” votes, or 58.29%, and 1,991 “no” votes, or 41.71%.

“It’s very disappointing,” said Margaret Joehnck, chairwoman of Friends of Higgins Fire for Measure I. “We had a number of public forums and there was hardly any opposition expressed, which makes it even more discouraging. … We thought it would be an easy sell, but it wasn’t.”

The Higgins district has struggled to provide needed services on a tax assessment that dates back to 1980 of $25 per single-family dwelling. After failing three times in the last decade to win approval for a tax increase, the district chose to close its Dog Bar Road station in 2016.

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Measure I would have instituted 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.

With the increased funding, Higgins planned to reopen its Dog Bar station, add paramedic services to all three stations, and enhance coverage and response times for the entire district.

Fire Chief Jerry Good said at one rally before the election the district’s firefighters responded to 1,200 medical calls last year.

Good declined to comment Friday on the failure of the tax measure, and said the district will issue a press release next week.

To contact Staff Writer Liz Kellar, email lizk@theunion.com or call 530-477-4236.

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