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Posted by: thepinetree on 05/07/2019 07:12 AM Updated by: thepinetree on 05/07/2019 07:12 AM
Expires: 01/01/2024 12:00 AM
:

(Get Your Ballots In The Mail Today!) Vote Yes on “Measure A” to Support Rural Emergency Health Services from EPFD

Arnold, CA...The Ebbetts Pass Fire District (EPFD) Board of Directors is sponsoring “Measure A,” which is a special tax measure that will fund the continued operation of fire, ambulance and paramedic services to the Upper Highway 4 Corridor. The Fire District serves community members who live in the 225-square-mile District along Highway 4 between Forest Meadows and Bear Valley. The EPFD Board of Directors put forth Measure A to address a $400,000 budget deficit the District is currently facing. If Measure A does not pass, fire, ambulance and paramedic services will have to be cut starting July 1, 2019. Eligible voters will receive ballots in the mail in early April and those ballots must be mailed to the Calaveras County Elections Office by May 7, 2019. In order to pass, Measure A must receive a two-thirds majority, meaning 66.67% of voters must vote “Yes”.

















How did this happen?
The District takes great pride in providing a high level of Advanced Life Support, Ambulance Transport and Fire Protection services to citizens along the Upper Highway 4 Corridor. These services have been possible using funding from two special taxes that voters approved by more than a two-thirds majority in 1998 and 2004. However, these special tax measures were flat fees with no built-in, annual increases. Each was designed to fund its program for a period of 10 years. Over the past 10-to-20 years, the cost of nearly everything has increased, and this has resulted in the District facing financial challenges. Through cost-saving measures, deferment of capital expenses (the District’s newest Type 1 fire engine is 25 years old) and use of reserves, the District has been able to stretch these funds to last much longer than originally intended. However, the time has come that the 1998 and 2004 special tax funds are no longer adequate to support EPFD’s fire, ambulance and paramedic programs. This year, the District is facing a $400,000 budget deficit.

What’s the plan?
To address the budget shortfall, EPFD created a focus group in 2018 to consider various options. After a series of in-depth discussions, the group determined the only viable option to avoid cutting services was to put a special tax measure on the ballot. This conclusion was reached because the District had already cut costs, increased efficiencies and dipped into reserves to balance the budget in prior years. The focus group met regularly and spent many hours with community members discussing various approaches to a special tax. Once several options had been identified, EPFD held a community meeting at Independence Hall in White Pines. The Hall was packed with people, and EPFD explained the budget shortfall and the importance of addressing it to avoid cutting critical services to the community. Attendees were asked to fill out a written survey that allowed residents to tell EPFD what they thought the best solution was moving forward. The survey results were clear. The community overwhelmingly said that EPFD should put forth a special tax (Measure A) that would provide adequate funding to not only continue to provide the current service levels, but also increase staffing on the paramedic fire engines from two persons to three persons each day. EPFD would also continue to provide a minimum of two Advanced Life Support ambulances with no out-of-pocket transport expense to residents. The community also recommended that an annual increase be included that would sunset in 10 years.

What’s the cost?
The proposed “Measure A” increases would be in addition to the existing special taxes from 1998 and 2004, which are $128 for improved properties and $38 for unimproved properties. If Measure A passes, the special tax for improved parcels would increase by $134 (for a total of $262 in year 1), with an increase of $6.28 annually for 10 years. For unimproved parcels, the special tax would increase by $43.10 (for a total of $81.11 in year one), with an increase of $2.42 annually for 10 years.
What are the community benefits? No out-of-pocket expenses to residents : Ebbetts Pass Fire District provides no out-of-pocket expense for ground ambulance transport. Between 2016 and 2017, the ambulance program has saved EPFD residents $1.15 million in out-of-pocket expenses. These savings are achieved because EPFD only bills insurance companies for ambulance transportation costs when transporting residents of in the District. Any additional out-of-pocket costs beyond what insurance companies will pay are written off by the District. Insurance availability : EPFD has worked hard to achieve an Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 2 rating. This public protection class 2 rates our agency in the top few percent of the 48,000 other fire agencies in the United States. This rating reduces risk for insurance companies, and they are more likely to write policies in this area

Insurance savings:
One of our (EPFD) residents advised us at a Focus Group meeting that she originally only had two insurance carriers to choose from, but when she advised her broker that EPFD was an ISO Class 2 rating, she was able to choose from several other insurance companies and was able to save over $600.00 a year on her insurance premium. EPFD will not have to reduce any of our services to the community and will be able to maintain all current staffing levels.

Equipment purchasing:
EPFD would have the funding to reinstate an equipment purchasing program and begin to replace worn-out and outdated equipment. For example, purchasing new first-responder breathing safety equipment, advanced life support heart monitors/defibrillators, ambulances and fire engines.

Staffing levels:
If Measure A passes, EPFD will be able to increase staffing from two to three firefighters on the fire engine each day. With the additional staffing, EPFD would be able to staff a third ambulance during planned peak population times of the year (e.g. Fourth of July weekend). EPFD would have more flexibility to move emergency resources throughout the District to handle potential emergencies (e.g. staffing the Meko Drive Fire Station in Camp Connell). The third firefighter on the engine would allow us to accomplish 50% more work on the scene of a fire while it is small, thus helping to prevent it from growing into a large fire.

What happens if Measure A doesn’t pass?
Without additional funding going into the next fiscal year, EPFD will be unable to maintain existing staffing levels and will have to reduce ambulance service from two ambulances down to one ambulance on a regular basis. Fewer ambulances would result in longer wait times for residents in need of medical attention, which could have major health implications. This would also affect the District’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) Class 2 rating. Currently, EPFD’s rating is in the top 2-to-4 percent in the nation. If services are cut back due to the budget deficit and the District’s ISO rating is downgraded, it would lead to increased homeowners insurance rates and fewer insurance agencies would write policies in the area.

Important dates to remember
● April 8 : Measure A mailed to voters
● May 7 : Last day ballots can be mailed to the Calaveras County Elections Office
Where can I learn more about Measure A?
● Go to www.epfd.org and click on the “Measure A” banner.
● Email epfd@epfd.org
● Call (209) 795-1646
● Drop by the EPFD Fire Station at 1037 Blagen Rd., Arnold



Comments - Make a comment
The comments are owned by the poster. We are not responsible for its content. We value free speech but remember this is a public forum and we hope that people would use common sense and decency. If you see an offensive comment please email us at news@thepinetree.net
No Subject
Posted on: 2019-05-07 07:22:08   By: Anonymous
 
Tight wad did you vote Yes

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2019-05-07 19:43:03   By: Anonymous
     
    Any young people in Arnold?

    [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-05-07 07:24:29   By: Anonymous
 
Vote Yes on A
You may need a ride.
Right Tight Wad!

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2019-05-07 13:39:09   By: Anonymous
     

    My wife and I both voted YES on A.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2019-05-07 19:43:34   By: Anonymous
       
      Your wife voted Yes on Me.

      [Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-05-07 07:50:57   By: Anonymous
 
A small price to pay for continued excellent emergency services coverage. Which - BTW - also ensures your property values remain solid.

[Reply ]

No Subject
Posted on: 2019-05-07 08:17:44   By: Anonymous
 
Just raise taxes more. Maybe if they had a better budget with their money this wouldn’t happen to property owners. Everyone who lives and visits up here uses this service. Maybe we all should have to pay it

[Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2019-05-07 09:53:06   By: Anonymous
     
    That would work both ways, my friend. Should you pay taxes to say the cities of San Francisco or maybe Santa Cruz because you visit on occasion? Of course not. The general thought is visitors spend their dollars and help the local economy and small businesses by doing so.

    [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2019-05-07 10:01:32   By: Anonymous
       


      [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2019-05-07 10:08:33   By: Anonymous
         
        Had dinner at Dogwood last night (Monday). They were pretty busy and the food was EXCELLENT. Just sayin'.

        [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2019-05-07 10:22:22   By: Anonymous
         
        That's their own fault. HIGH prices, average food and not conducive to attracting locals. You can't survive on tourism alone yup here. . . .

        Sarafinas is always packed. Supports locals, reasonable prices and good food.



        [Reply ]

          Re:
          Posted on: 2019-05-07 10:57:04   By: Anonymous
           


          [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2019-05-07 09:54:55   By: Anonymous
     
    That would never fly in Calaveras. It took years and years for the TOT tax to be approved by voters, even when explained it primarily affected visitors. Local voters would never pass a tax increase but the hope is that residents will understand how a specific measure would affect them.

    [Reply ]

    Re:
    Posted on: 2019-05-07 10:10:57   By: Anonymous
     
    Well, all the visitors who stay at their vacation cabin in Arnold will pay the assessment too. I don't think many people are just camping in Arnold.

    [Reply ]

      Re: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!
      Posted on: 2019-05-07 11:02:28   By: Anonymous
       
      HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!LYING, CHEATING, CROOKED HILLARY!!!HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

      [Reply ]

      Re:
      Posted on: 2019-05-07 11:54:18   By: Anonymous
       
      Rumor has it somebody crapped in the chili.

      [Reply ]

        Re:
        Posted on: 2019-05-07 19:44:32   By: Anonymous
         
        ^It was me.

        Merita Callaway

        [Reply ]


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