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Measure B deserves ‘yes’

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Please support Measure B, a parcel tax for Newcastle residents, designed to save the Newcastle Fire Department and provide an appropriate level of funding for years to come. I understand the pain of paying more taxes, $146 more per year per parcel, to accomplish our goal. Forty percent will be used for a new facility to house the firefighters and all their equipment (the present building has been condemned and will have to be vacated very soon). Our firefighters are presently sleeping in a camper when they are on duty. Forty percent will be used to provide our firefighters with fair wages and some benefits (a Newcastle firefighter now gets paid $8.50 per hour, about the same as a high school kid flipping burgers). That is shameful and our community needs to correct this. Twenty percent will be used for equipment which over time needs to be repaired or replaced. Failure to pass Measure B will mean the loss of our well-trained fire department whose priority is Newcastle. What are the consequences? Well, if another district picks us up, they will charge us for their services and I can guarantee you it will be more than what you will be paying as the result of Measure B. There is no legal obligation for a neighboring district to pick up Newcastle. We could become an unserved area, which means higher fire insurance premiums (if an insurance company will actually continue to cover you at all) and lower property values. If we have to depend on another district, it will mean longer response times for both fires and medical issues. This results in more damage or possible fatalities. If you think your insurance company wouldn’t change your rates, think again. There is not one insurance company in the world that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. They are out to make money and you will be a target. So vote yes on Measure B. It is the right thing to do for yourself, your family, your neighbors and your community. It will give you piece of mind during fire season. Elinor Petuskey, Newcastle