Opinion » Letters

Cayucos residents underestimate the proposed fire tax

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I am very concerned that the Cayucos voters are unaware of the actual cost of the Fire Tax in Measure C-16. The ballot states that it is a “new Special Tax at $125 per unit of benefit,” but one must read the additional voter pamphlet to find out that a single family home counts as four units. The fire tax on homes will increase from $100 to $500 per year—plus annual increases. 

Most residents I have spoken with are misreading it, thinking we are voting for a tax of only $125 because they owned one house, but $125 is the tax for a vacant lot only. Most other districts count a single family home as one unit in order to avoid voter confusion, as with our Sanitary District, so I am not surprised that many Cayucos residents do not realize the true cost of the fire tax.

Cayucos is one of only three unincorporated towns in SLO County to pay for its own fire district. In all other unincorporated areas, fire protection is provided by the county, which contracts for the service with Cal Fire. I have appreciated the service of the Cayucos Fire Department, but Cayucos can no longer afford it, and we need to ask the county to assume responsibility.

If the residents knowingly vote in favor of a five-fold increase, so be it—but my greatest concern is that they are not aware of the cost because they are only reading the ballot description. In a town hall meeting held May 26 by the Cayucos Fire District, there were gasps in the audience when the $500 figure was made clear.

-- Linda Van Fleet - Cayucos

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