Another View: Measure D is local money for local safety

By: Joe Ten Eyck, Guest Columnist
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Placer County is a special community ? and one of my top priorities has always been ensuring the safety of our families and neighbors. I am in my 27th season as a firefighter. Firefighting has meant a commitment to all aspects of public safety and it has become my life?s work. Our state?s budget crisis has put a financial strain on many, including the first responders that keep our community safe. All of us, including firefighters, have to learn to do more with less. Unfortunately, due to the state of the economy and steep budget cuts, the safety and security of our homes and businesses are becoming endangered. Placer County is facing a $570,000 shortfall. The estimated budget cuts will reduce the level of firefighting service in the Auburn/Ophir Fire County Service Area by 33 percent. This means less equipment, fewer firefighters reporting to emergencies and longer response times. Not only will public safety suffer, our community is also in danger of increased property loss and increased homeowners insurance. According to actuary/insurance agents, the cost of business and homeowners insurance may increase 200 to 300 percent, and some may be denied coverage completely. Our community has an opportunity to bridge this funding gap. Measure D is local money for local safety. It is a parcel tax measure that would keep our public safety levels to what we currently experience. It is a good idea. Measure D would enact a parcel tax of $40 a year for homeowners, $20 for mobile homes in mobile home parks and 4.6 cents per square foot for businesses. These taxes would make up for the cuts being made to our fire departments. If we do not get additional local revenue, we will roll the dice that disaster won?t strike. These are not easy times. It is not easy to ask the community to increase revenues, but our safety is worth the extra cost. For less than one lunch a month at McDonalds, you can ensure that the next time you have an emergency someone will be available to come to your rescue. It has been more than 20 years since the last time there was a revenue increase for fire service in Placer County. Our level of service has remained steady, and it is time to work together as a community to protect our families. I am not alone supporting Measure D. A wide variety of community leaders support this important measure, including four Placer County Supervisors. Measure D is local money for local safety, it?s that simple. Let?s work together to support our public safety. Please help keep Placer County safe; vote yes on Measure D. Joe Ten Eyck serves as special assistant to the president, CDF Firefighters.