PVFD Public Safety Staffing Upgrade Cost?­ — a Mere 60 cents a Day | TheUnion.com
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PVFD Public Safety Staffing Upgrade Cost?­ — a Mere 60 cents a Day

Jon Pitts

Penn Valley property owners will soon receive a ballot in the mail asking for their vote on a proposed property assessment increase to:

— Fully Staff Fire Stations

— Retain our highly skilled Firefighter/Paramedics

— Ensure quick response times

— Help enhance availability of fire insurance

Parcel owners will be asked to support the hiring of six (6) additional full-time firefighter/paramedics, increasing the staffing of each shift by 50%. Penn Valley Fire currently employs 12 full-time Firefighter/Paramedics.

Penn Valley Fire Protection District (PVFPD) staffs two firehouses. Station 43 is located on Spenceville Road and Station 44 is located at the main gate to Lake Wildwood.

At any given time there is personnel to operate two sets of equipment, ambulance or engine. This is 50% of the national staffing standard. An additional six Firefighter/Paramedics will provide the ability to operate three vehicles per shift, providing faster response.

“We are beginning to experience response challenges when two and increasingly three calls come in an hour,” says Penn Valley Fire Chief Don Wagner. “We simply don’t have the staff to cover that level of volume. Calls for service have increased 62% since we approved the previous assessment in 2005.”

Because Penn Valley firefighters are also highly skilled paramedics, they are increasing sought after by regional departments with the ability to offer better compensation. Wagner said, “Some of our full-time guys are literally taking home less than $30,000 a year. We’ve lost 19 highly trained staff members in the past 5 years because we can’t begin to compete with some of our neighboring agencies.”

A citizen committee has formed to support the passage of the parcel owner initiative. “This is a very important issue and it is an admittedly challenging time to effectively communicate with parcel owners,” says Penn Valley Fire Citizens Committee Treasurer Steve Roddy, “We are placing signs and providing handouts in open businesses that direct parcel owners to our website. It’s very different from a normal campaign where we could simply meet with voters to explain the necessity of getting this passed.”

Roddy, a retired elementary school teacher, says the committee will rely heavily on social media and virtual house parties to reach parcel owners. “For as long as Nevada County remains under the Covid 19-related stay-at-home recommendation we will be limited to virtual communication. We hope the community will assist us by sharing our Facebook posts and calling or emailing their neighbors.”

Unlike a Primary or General Election ballot initiative, only legally recognized parcel owners, not registered voters, will be provided a ballot. The parcel owner will receive and be allowed to vote one ballot per parcel owned. Ballots will be mailed to parcel owners in mid-April and must be signed by the legal owner and returned no later than June 2, 2020. Fifty percent plus one of returned ballots must vote yes to succeed.

With parcel owner approval, the annual fee for each improved parcel will change from $80.54 per year to $296.41. This is a change of $215.87.

An increase amounting to less than $0.60 per day will hire and retain an additional six new full-time Firefighter/Paramedics, reducing the time it takes for a fully staffed fire engine or paramedic squad to reach you in your moment of emergency.

The Penn Valley Fire Benefit Assessment affects each parcel of land within the Penn Valley Fire Protection District. There are currently 6,563 assessed parcels in PVFPD.

For additional information we invite you to visit our website at: ProtectPennValley.org. Protect Penn Valley by voting YES!


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