Arcata Fire District Wants New Tax to Hire More Firefighters
Press release provided by the Arcata Fire District:
At their May 19th meeting, the Directors of the Arcata Fire District will consider adoption of an ordinance establishing a new Special Tax to increase the staffing at the District. The measure, which would require voter approval, proposes to increase the tax on a single family residence by $96 per year for the purpose of enhancing emergency response for fire and medical incidents by hiring additional firefighters.
According to Board Chair Linda Sundberg, “If approved by our residents, this tax will be used to put more firefighters in the stations and on the engines to bring us up to three firefighters on each engine, the industry standard for a community our size.”
Currently, the District has only two career firefighters on each engine. Sundberg continued, “Our residents have made it clear over the last decade that they want us to continue to grow and modernize their department. As our communities have grown, the number of emergency responses has grown and we need to make sure we can respond to incidents quickly and effectively. This measure would give voters the opportunity to have a voice in change that would make our communities safer.”
The District has undergone numerous changes in the last decade, starting with hiring John McFarland as the first Chief from outside the organization in 2005. “John came in and made some long-overdue changes to the way we operate and staff stations,” said Fire Chief Desmond Cowan. “He’s worked with modern departments and recognized that a District as big and complex as Arcata needed to modernize and change. This is a logical next step. Hiring more personnel will allow us to provide better service at medical aid calls, rescues, and fires. It’s better for the community.”
The District Board meeting is scheduled for 7:00 pm on May 19th at the D Street Center in Arcata. Interested residents are encouraged to attend.