Property owners across the Santa Clarita Valley will pay a little bit more for fire protection and paramedic services in the coming year if the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approves a rate adjustment Tuesday.
Voters in the unincorporated county areas and 48 cities including Santa Clarita approved a special tax in 1997 for fire fighting that is billed through property taxes. The supervisors can raise it annually by a maximum of 2 percent, and Fire Chief Daryl Osby is asking them to do just that.
It works out to an increase of $1.22 per year for single family homeowners, for a total of $62.26. (All types of properties are affected.)
Technically the tax can rise by the lesser of 2 percent or the change in the California Consumer Price Index, and although the available copy of Osby’s board report doesn’t state the latter figure, the latest data from the state Department of Finance indicate the California CPI rose about 2.1 percent over the last year. (The L.A. County CPI rate change was slightly less than 2 percent, but the tax measure is tied to the state rate, not the county rate.)
The proposed increase will raise an additional $1.5 million for a total of $74.7 million in fiscal 2012-13 – equal to 8 percent of the total $939.5 million cost of fire protection and emergency medical services within the 48 cities and unincorporated county areas.
A citizens’ oversight committee is responsible for ensuring the special tax money is spent only on firefighting, emergency paramedic rescue, search and rescue and hazardous materials and disaster response.