Letter Writer Expresses ‘Whole-Hearted Support for Measure U’

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Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am writing to express my whole-hearted support for Measure U, Garberville Fire Protection District’s proposal for an expanded district and parcel tax. This is long overdue! Nearly 70% of GFPD’s responses are outside the district’s boundaries. It’s truly remarkable that Garberville Fire has done so much with so little for so long.

The requested parcel tax is modest and comparable to other fire districts in SoHum. The additional revenue will provide for upgrades with equipment and training, annexation of Sprowel Creek Fire Company (with fire station and truck), establish a Benbow fire station and crew, and allow for better staffing of the Garberville station. This is not an overreach of power; GFPD has been providing these outlying areas with “goodwill” services for years without the benefit of taxpayer support.

Being part of a fire district offers many benefits: Fire insurance will be more available and more affordable. Response time will be faster. And most likely, the person who responds to your emergency will be someone with whom you are familiar and they with you; not a stranger. Outside of a district, CAL FIRE will usually respond – if available – but they are not responsible for structure protection, medical issues or rescue needs. Their focus is wildfires.

Although I reside in the Briceland Fire Protection District, I use the services of the greater Garberville community and I want it to be safe and well prepared for emergencies. Please join me in supporting this very important initiative.  And voters within the proposed district please vote YES for Measure U on March 7.

“Friends of Garberville Fire” has set up a wonderful website with tons of information, including a detailed list of the parcel tax rates (varies with property use) and a search engine to find your rate: friendsofgfpd.com 

Sincerely, 

Kathy Weber

Ettersburg

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19 Comments
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Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
15 days ago
Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
15 days ago

https://friendsofgfpd.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/GFPD-Annex-FAQ_10.31.pdf

Uhmm.. While I wholeheartedly support the idea of the GVFD receiving funds, the parcel tax as a format is completely outdated and unfair. If parcels are taxed by land type use then parcels of 160 acres with million plus dollar homes are taxed at the same rate as a .22 acre lot with a run down shack on it. In fact I see one 849 acre parcel with several homes on it taxed at the same $150 pr year as the shack on less than 1/4 acre. This is what is otherwise known as a Poll Tax. People in other countries have huge RIOTS over poll taxes. I mean, people are so angry that they have burned shit down and have killed each other over them. Poll taxes are not fair.
Could this instead be taxed according to county assessed value of the property with a minimum tax paid? It would be more fair and would probably also get more votes.

Last edited 15 days ago by Lynn H
Ariolimax
Member
Ariolimax
14 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

FAQ check. Multi-family parcels are taxed more. Vacant lots with shacks are taxed less. What I see in the proposal is entirely reasonable and property (per lot) taxes are not poll (per head) taxes. You’ll have to postpone the riot. Assessed value does not make sense, unless you want more fire trucks to show for the rich guy’s house than when your house is burning.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
13 days ago
Reply to  Ariolimax

https://www.arcgis.com/home/webmap/viewer.html?webmap=705322399b1d4928ac0a25e1487fb632&extent=-123.9038,40.0503,-123.6502,40.1588

click on largest parcel almost due north of Garberville to see what that parcel would pay;

Acres849.37Parcel No.223-331-001-000Land UsePortion TPZ, Wwd, ImprovedParcel Address675 SKYWAY RDProposed Special Tax$ 150

You can also check the parcel and buildings on google earth. BTW, I don’t own ANY parcels. But I certainly want to make a statement because it is not fair.

Ernie Branscomb
Guest
Ernie Branscomb
14 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

“Could this instead be taxed according to county assessed value of the property”
No, I think prop 13 won’t let that happen. 

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
13 days ago

Oh.. Thanks Ernie. I just looked at the wiki page for that and I guess it falls under Mello-Roos and possibly California Proposition 218. I don’t know if I have enough to go down that wormhole tonight.. You might be right. Looks like the “parcel tax” was a work around to the 1% Ad Valorium (value) limit on property taxes, but before 13 the county paid for these things..
Is anyone in the house familiar with these laws and if they prevent special taxes from being Ad Valorium or how Ad Valorium within those three laws?
EDIT(again) so does this mean any parcel tax requires a 2/3rds vote?

Last edited 13 days ago by Lynn H
Shawn Masterson
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

Lynn,
This is one tax that actually generates more revenue from the county than we would actually pay out. It’s an investment in your community that brings back more money from the county in the property tax sharing agreement (estimated @ $200,000.00 per year from the property tax we all already pay plus the parcel tax you have mis-interpreted as a poll tax is an additional $145,000.00 all of which will be invested back into the new Fire District. I also think you are mistaken about the role of the fire district, we’re the ones that put the fires out and help protect the people in times of emergencies. You’ll know who we are because as everybody is running from the emergency we run towards it.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
13 days ago

Shawn, I agree the dept should get money in property taxes. Or in some sort of taxes. I also very much appreciate the work you all do. I do not own any parcels myself but have still benefited from the work of VFDs.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
What I don’t like is the way all parcel taxes are done in California. It is in effect a poll tax, even if it only taxes property owners. I do think you’d get more votes if the tax was as to property value rather than by each parcel. Unfortunately I’ll be one of the very few who ever says anything publicly about it.. Most people just grumble quietly then don’t vote in favor of some of these taxes whether they are for fire, schools or whatever. Even though I don’t like it, if there is no other way to do it (Ernie is wondering about that) I’d probably personally vote for it. Even though I wouldn’t be the one to pay it, not owning a parcel..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
No one ever says anything because parcel taxes are always for something good. But everything else comes out of a state or county budget where property and income are taxed according to actual value. Our schools and fire depts should be the same.

Last edited 13 days ago by Lynn H
Shawn Masterson
Guest
Shawn Masterson
4 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

Lynn,
This is what most people consider a poll tax.
In the United States, voting poll taxes (whose payment was a precondition to voting in an election) have been used to disenfranchise impoverished and minority voters (especially under Reconstruction).[3]
By their very nature, poll taxes are considered regressive.
This parcel tax is not what is listed above by definition. Just wanted to clear that up.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
13 days ago

OK, yes, looks like $425,000 pr year including what I consider a poll tax. That’s including the $80,000 also already taxed before consolidation. Thanks.

Shawn Masterson
Guest
Shawn Masterson
4 days ago
Reply to  Lynn H

No the 80,000 is part of the 202,000 the county would kick in not in addition to it.

THC
Guest
THC
15 days ago

If I’m forced to pay this tax will I now qualify for fire insurance from insurance companies that deny me coverage becouse I’m not in an incorporated area? I mean my house is 45 minutes from the closest paved Road, I seriously doubt any fire engine could get to my house in time to do anything but “control the spread”.

Shawn Masterson
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  THC

THC,
You’ll still be in an unincorporated area, but you could be in a fire district which is a good thing. I can only assume you wanted to live 45 minutes off the nearest paved road to enjoy the peace and serenity of this beautiful place we call home. If you would like there’s things that you can do to help make your home and your neighborhood more Fire ready one of the services the district offers is fire assessments. That could be helpful if the fire truck can’t get there for a few minutes. Think about it it truly is a cooperative venture with the new proposed district being this large approximately 36,000 acres.

willow creeker
Member
willow creeker
13 days ago
Reply to  THC

THC, trust me man I live in Willow Creek, the fire Capitol of Humboldt County. I don’t pay for any insurance for my business or my home, but I do everything I can to support my local VFD.

Insurance has become unaffordable around here and during last years fires, I was 100% protected by VFD and forest service personnel, had a bunch of brush clearing done for free and the fire didn’t have a chance to jump the lines.

Put your money where it matters, support locals and give the forest service some credit.

Ariolimax
Member
Ariolimax
14 days ago

Garberville. You want civilization, you have to pay for it. A well funded fire department is a good place to start.

John Smith
Guest
John Smith
14 days ago

I actually was a GFD member many years ago for a short time. I appreciate the hard work of first responders. The large area they cover in the area.
My only two questions.
One. With building a truck barn at Sprowl Creek and Benbow areas with a station truck and Fireman at each location. This looks like a pay fire dept. In an unincorporated area who will maintain driver logs and maintenance another employee?
Two. What would be the status of Redway Fire Protection District? Are they doing the same thing? Building New Truck Barns etc? What would be the harm of some sort of consolidation of the two districts? Combining all of the staff needs. Dispatch, Paperwork, maintenance could and should be combined.
I’ve seen small or even larger districts combine in close geographic locations to each other use some sort of economy of scale. Thank you for listening.

Shawn Masterson
Guest
13 days ago
Reply to  John Smith

John
You are correct about the amount of time and paperwork involved with maintaining the fire district. The same paperwork is required whether it’s an all volunteer department or an all paid department. It’s staggering between state forms, insurance forms, training forms, maintenance forms, it’s the stuff that we all volunteer to do to help our community. I’m glad you helped out in the past please support us by voting yes on measure U.

Lynn H
Guest
Lynn H
13 days ago
Reply to  John Smith
Marcia
Guest
Marcia
13 days ago

Thank you, Kathy! Wherever we live, we need to support our firefighters. Of all of the taxes we pay, I think this is one that we can see direct benefits, both in protecting our homes and communities, and in protecting those that do this work.

Last edited 13 days ago by Marcia