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June 5, 2018 — California Primary Election
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Special District

Cambria Community Services District
Measure A-18 Parcel Tax - 2/3 Approval Required

To learn more about measures, follow the links for each tab in this section. For most screenreaders, you can hit Return or Enter to enter a tab and read the content within.

Election Results

Failed

1,472 votes yes (53.64%)

1,272 votes no (46.36%)

100% of precincts reporting (3/3).

2,829 ballots counted.

Shall Cambria Community Services District Ordinance 01-2018, which imposes an annual special tax of sixty-two dollars and fifteen cents ($62.15) on each parcel of real property in the Cambria Community Services District to fund three (3) full time firefighters, be approved and shall the Cambria Community Services District appropriations limit be increased by the amount of this voter-approved tax?

What is this proposal?

Measure Details — Official information about this measure

YES vote means

A “yes” vote on this measure is a vote in favor of imposing a special tax for the purposes of providing funding for three full-time firefighters to provide fire prevention and protection services within the District.

              

NO vote means

A “no” vote on this measure is a vote against imposing a special tax for the purposes of providing funding for three full-time firefighters to provide fire prevention and protection services within the District.

Impartial analysis / Proposal

RITA L. NEAL County Counsel

This measure has been placed on the ballot by the Board of Directors (“the Board”) of the Cambria Community Services District (“the District”) and is intended to determine whether an ordinance imposing a special tax on all real property within the District shall be approved by the voters of the District for the purpose of funding three full-time firefighters to provide fire prevention and protection services within the District.          

                If this measure is approved, an ordinance shall be enacted imposing a special tax on all real property within the District and increasing the District’s appropriation limit in an amount equal to the taxes imposed. Pursuant to California Constitution, Article XIIIA, section 4, and Article XIIIC, section 2, and Government Code section 50075, the Board is authorized to impose a special tax if approved by a two-thirds vote. 

                The Ordinance sets an annual special tax of sixty-two dollars and fifteen cents ($62.15) on each parcel of real property within the District.  The ordinance defines “parcel” to mean each parcel of real property having a separate assessor’s parcel number as shown on the last equalized assessment roll of San Luis Obispo County.

                If the measure is approved, commencing with fiscal year 2019/20 and for each fiscal year thereafter, the maximum amount of the special tax shall increase by the average percentage by which the Consumer Price Index, as described in the full text of the measure, increased in the twelve months prior to March of the calendar year in which the adjustment is made.

                In accordance with Article XIIIC, Section 2(d) of the California Constitution, the ordinance providing for the special tax will only become effective if approved by a two-thirds vote. Pursuant to Article XIIIB, section 4, voter-approved increases in the District’s appropriations limit may only be in effect for four years. Therefore, in order for the increased appropriations limit resulting from the special tax to continue, it must be approved by the voters every four years.

                A “yes” vote on this measure is a vote in favor of imposing a special tax for the purposes of providing funding for three full-time firefighters to provide fire prevention and protection services within the District.

                A “no” vote on this measure is a vote against imposing a special tax for the purposes of providing funding for three full-time firefighters to provide fire prevention and protection services within the District.

Published Arguments — Arguments for and against the ballot measure

Arguments FOR

By voting YES on measure A-18, you are supporting a lasting improvement to the emergency response capabilities within our community. Cambria Community Services District Fire Department (CCSDFD) has proudly served Cambria for over 140 years and has become an all- hazard emergency agency. CCSDFD responds to fires emergency medical calls, vehicle accidents, ocean and cliff-side rescue incidents, and non-emergency calls for service.  With required entry level training of almost 800 hours, there has been a steady decline in volunteerism. The CCSDFD has taken purposeful steps to provide the most effective and economically efficient emergency services possible within its budget limitations.

In March of 2016, CCSDFD was awarded a federal grant to fund 3 additional firefighters for two years. This has allowed Cambrians the benefit of 3 career personnel plus 1 reserve on duty, for a total of 4. This grant was not renewed, so an additional funding source is needed to maintain the staffing levels.

Your YES vote on Measure A-18 will be used exclusively to fund 3 career firefighter positions. This is consistent with:

  • National federal and state safety requirements
  • Response to recommendation of County of San Luis Obispo Grand Jury
  • Recommendation of Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan for CCSD and CCHD
  • Recommendation of County of San Luis Obispo Emergency Response Plan

We live in an isolated, rural area and face unique challenges in responding to emergencies. CCSDFD is committed to ensuring that we keep up with the increasing public safety needs of the community.

Your YES vote on Measure A-18 will be used exclusively to fund 3 career firefighter positions. This staffing model enhances the safety of our community and will support continuation of the wide range of emergency and community services the Fire Department of CCSD provides.

s/ Amanda Rice

s/ Aaron Wharton

s/ David Pierson

s/ Jerome Gruber

s/ William Hollingsworth

 

Arguments AGAINST

Voters who are asked to approve any new tax should start with a simple question: Is this tax really necessary?

In the case of Measure A-18, which would tax Cambrians to pay for extra full-time firefighter positions at a starting cost of $378,000 a year, the answer is clearly “no.” 

To see why, let’s look at some facts:

First, the Cambria Fire Department operated until 2016 with engine company crews of three. Can you recall any significant concerns being raised back then about the safety or effectiveness of our firefighters? We cannot. The fact is that they were doing a fine job with three-person crews.

Second, the resolution to put this measure on the ballot cited only one specific advantage of four-person crews. This is the ability to “provide aggressive interior fire attack,” with two firefighters going into a burning structure while two stay outside. But Cambria Fire can do this without the extra firefighters, because our community has not just one but two fire departments. The other one is Cal Fire, which AUTOMATICALLY responds to all fire calls in Cambria. Cal Fire has at least two firefighters (three or four in wildfire season) at its Cambria station.  So even with three-person Cambria Fire crews, there will be at least five firefighters at any fire.

Third, this tax does not protect Cambria from a truly serious threat, that of catastrophic wildfire. It does not pay for clearing dead and dying trees or creating defensible space around homes and around the town as a whole.  In fact, the language of Measure A-18 EXPLICITLY BARS spending the tax proceeds on anything other than three added firefighter positions.

Measure A-18 is not needed for our community’s safety. It is not needed for the safety of firefighters.  We urge you to vote NO.

s/ Tom Gray

s/ Igor V. Fedoroff

s/ Brian J. Griffin

s/ Gerald A. Praver

s/ Beverly S. Praver

Replies to Arguments FOR

The argument for Measure A-18 leaves out important facts and gets others wrong, such as:

  • Proponents of the parcel tax say that Cambria depends on the CCSD Fire Department (Cambria Fire) for more than just firefighting.
  • That’s not the whole story. Cambria Fire does not work alone. Agencies not mentioned in the “pro” argument -- Cal Fire, the Cambria Community Healthcare District’s ambulance service, the County Sheriff and the CHP -- also serve Cambria. This well-run emergency system does not need extra firefighters to do its job.
  • The “pro” argument points to “national federal and state safety requirements.” But these requirements are already met by Cal Fire and Cambria Fire working together.
  • The Grand Jury has not recommended raising Cambria Fire staffing levels. Nor has the CCSD mentioned fire staffing in its responses to the Grand Jury.
  • San Luis Obispo County’s Emergency Operations Plan (the correct title) says nothing about needing extra firefighters. A 2014 County document suggests adding professionals “to augment existing volunteer forces,” but Cambria Fire is already fully professionalized.
  • The proponents cite “increasing public safety needs,” In fact, fires in Cambria are trending downward and ambulance calls are not increasing.

Moreover, the cost to fund these three extra firefighters begins at $378,000 a year. Along with cost-of-living and “step” increases, taxpayers will face rising pension and healthcare costs for the extra firefighters for decades to come.

We Cambrians support our firefighters. But this tax increase is not necessary. We urge you to vote NO on Measure A-18.

s/ Tom Gray

s/ Igor V. Fedoroff

s/ Brian J. Griffin

s/ Gerald A. Praver

 

s/ Beverly S. Praver

 

Replies to Arguments AGAINST

It is true that the Cambria Fire Department operated with three firefighters per shift prior to the awarding of the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant.  Note the name of the grant… SAFER.  FOUR person staffing per shift is deemed ADEQUATE for fire and emergency response by NFPA, FEMA and OSHA.  “The goal of SAFER is to enhance the local fire departments' abilities to comply with staffing, response and operational standards established by the NFPA (NFPA 1710 and/or NFPA 1720).”

Cambrians do benefit from having CAL FIRE located within our community, and their personnel frequently assist on large scale incidents.  But remember, their primary mission is the protection of California’s wildland.  In the last 10 years, there have been 157 fires, within our community.   100 of those fires required other agencies to respond.  Of those, 61 times Cambria Fire Department was on scene for an average of 4.46 minutes prior to receiving any assistance.  That is a long time for firefighters to wait to enter a burning building and see if one of our mostly elderly community members needed rescue. 

Measure A-18 is solely for funding the staffing necessary to maintain a four-person crew – 3 full-time and 1 reserve on a daily basis.  We know fire is an ever-present concern, and A FOUR firefighter crew makes us SAFER.  VOTE YES ON MEASURE A-18.

s/ Amanda Rice

s/ Aaron Wharton

s/ David Pierson

s/ Jerome Gruber

s/ William Hollingsworth

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