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| Wednesday, Dec 4, 2019
911 tax - Aerial view of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. | Photo: Mqarshall Astor/Wikimedia Commons. american indian
Aerial view of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. | Photo: Marshall Astor/Wikimedia Commons.

 

A 6-cent-per-square-foot parcel tax or “911 tax” to aid the Los Angeles County Fire Department in hiring more firefighters and paramedics and replacing safety gear and life-saving rescue equipment, has been unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors to be added to the March 2020 ballot for voters to decide.

“With an extended fire season and a substantial increase in calls for emergency medical services, voters will have the opportunity to help the Fire Department address its structural deficit to ensure our first responders are fully equipped to continue providing the highest-quality public safety services,” said Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents the 5th district, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley.

The L.A. County Fire District 911 Firefighter and Paramedic Emergency Response Measure would impose “an annual special parcel tax of 6 cents ($0.06) per square foot of improvements on all improved parcels, except as exempted, within the district,” the report says.

The parcel tax is computed by the size of the structure, not the overall property, according to county officials. (The approximate average size of a single-family home in Los Angeles is 1,700 square feet, which equates to about $102 for each homeowner.)

“Today’s fast-moving, explosive wildfires and the rising numbers of 911 calls are really putting a strain on the hard-working men and women who are our local firefighter/paramedics,” L.A. County Fire Chief Daryl Osby said in a news release.

“There’s a human impact on them as we stretch to ensure the safety of our neighbors and community,” Osby said. “We desperately need more resources to meet today’s demands. I’m grateful to the board for placing this much-needed ballot measure before our voters.”

Specifically, this parcel tax is designed to generate ongoing funding to allow the district to hire and train additional firefighters and paramedics, and to replace aging safety gear, communications tools and lifesaving rescue equipment, the report says.

Unlike other departments in the county, the fire district receives its funding through property tax collected within the district, not through the county’s general fund. Unfortunately, the funding collected has not been enough to keep up with the department’s increasing needs, according to the report.

“Since 2008, L.A. County has seen an over 50% increase in calls for assistance in medical emergencies, such as strokes, heart attacks and car accidents,” the report says. “Yet, in that same time period, there has been less than a 5% increase in paramedic units to respond to those calls.”

If voters approve a 911 tax by a two-thirds vote, the parcel tax would collect about $134 million a year from residents in the Consolidated Fire Protection District, according to a news release.

“When you call 911, you know help is coming. For us, this is our 911,” said Erin Regan, L.A. County firefighter and paramedic. “We are asking you for this measure because our firefighters and paramedics in the field need more resources.”

“Since 2008, L.A. County has seen an over 50% increase in calls for assistance in medical emergencies, such as strokes, heart attacks and car accidents,” the report says. “Yet, in that same time period, there has been less than a 5% increase in paramedic units to respond to those calls.”

If voters approve by a two-thirds vote, the parcel tax would collect about $134 million a year from residents in the Consolidated Fire Protection District, according to a news release.

“When you call 911, you know help is coming. For us, this is our 911,” said Erin Regan, L.A. County firefighter and paramedic. “We are asking you for this measure because our firefighters and paramedics in the field need more resources.”

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6 Comments

  1. Susie Evans says:

    Interesting. The average amount LA County wants to add to property taxes is approximately the amount the state assessed property about 10 years ago when wild fires were all over. The state stopped billing property owners, I think this year, but never gave us the money back. Where did that money go?

  2. Jim says:

    What a load of BS. Homes don’t spring up by themselves in most of this county. They are approved as developments by local city and county agencies. Property owners should be a part of this cost of protection, just like those city and county agencies who approve development should be. A parcel tax does NOT include every single person who benefits from such a tax.

    Every single person living in this county should be happy and proud to contribute towards fire protection, especially considering the last three years.

    Elected officials who truly wish to serve the People should make such a tax, or “fee” spread equally throughout the property owners, renters, lessors and other beneficiaries so that the pain is spread throughout the county and that the gain is equally spread as well.

    Otherwise, its just sticking it up the wallets of property owners, regardless of who benefits.

  3. jim says:

    Skip the parcel crap; every single person in this valley and the rest of LA County who might benefit from this “tax” should be a willing participant and payee.

    If I’ve got 30 acres of undeveloped property in LA County, and a 1/4 acre home property in a different part of
    the county, should I be paying for 30.25 acres of fire protection that really wouldn’t make a difference on the 30 acres?

    Or should the renters in all of the homes and condo’s in Santa Clarita be paying for fire protection for their living spaces?

    C’mon, lets get real here. LACOFD is going to put out fires near homes and condos, and let the chapparal burn on my 30 acres.

    Why should I pay extra when the renters don’t pay a single dollar?

    • Rex says:

      I agree Jim. It’s fundamentally wrong to ask non-property owners to vote a tax on property owners. It just isn’t fair or right. Sorry but we’re all taxed out!

  4. robert says:

    Don’t care. I’m leaving. This March it’s a “we need to fight fires” tax. Last time it was a gas tax. The time before that a gas tax.

    In the meantime, we support illegal alien healthcare, welfare and education with American taxpayers and spend inordinate amounts on crime, not to say all the crime that doesn’t even go reported any more because the police won’t bother investigating because so much “petty” crime no longer results in any real sanction.

  5. Rex says:

    Stop asking voters to pay for unnecessary and obviously unaffordable perks for the fire dept. $90 million/yr in this budget for Cafeteria Benefit Plans. The fact that the BOS would rather property owners go into their pockets again rather than cut a perk or two tells me we need a new BOS. Sorry but you had more than enough money for this need in your budget the fact that you choose to spend it on BS is your problem.

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