Approve fire fee |

Approve fire fee

Sometimes one has to be blunt. Adequate fire protection in Nevada County demands that the Nevada County Consolidated Fire District’s single family residence property assessment of $89 per year be passed.

Why, you ask? NCCFD’s 1996 special assessment is sunsetting; those fire stations where you never see any employees are actually unstaffed; they have equipment but are staffed by volunteers.

Realistic fire protection throughout this area is provided by mutual aid between fire departments. An underfunded major department like NCCFD would threaten all of us. Fires don’t respect city/district boundaries. Fire equipment must be located where it can respond quickly to a fire, not where it must fight downhill traffic first.

Finally, who should pay the assessment? The property owner who stands to lose their property value, their improvements and their personal belongings when a fire strikes. If they need to pass it along to renters, that’s how it should be. That’s why it is called a benefit assessment.

In times past, volunteer fire districts were the norm in Nevada County. Not anymore. The training/response requirements of modern firefighting equipment and public expectations require full-time staffing. Is it realistic to expect volunteers to be the core of today’s fire departments? Pass the NCCFD special assessment.

Dennis Cassella

Retired county OES director

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