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Measure E too close to call, so far

Voters share views on fire tax
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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Voters in the Placer Hills Fire Protection District voted on the district?s plea ? and iniative - to add a new fire tax, or potentially face losing paramedic service Tuesday. The measure had the support of 53.8 percent of voters as of 10 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Placer County Office of Elections. It needs the support of 66 percent of voters to pass. If passed, the tax will be levied on improved parcels with an assessed value of $10,000 or more. Single family and mobile homes will pay an additional $79 per parcel, on top of the $116.16 they pay now, with costs for other types of structures ranging up to $158 per structure. The maximum charge per parcel in 2012-2013 for a single residence or mobile home will be $195.16 and $2,232.76 for commercial or multiple use parcels. The tax could be raised each year by a cost of living adjustment or 3 percent, whichever is higher. Ian Gow, Placer Hills Fire Protection District chief, said like most fire districts, a decrease in property tax revenues hit Placer Hills hard, with annual revenue shortfalls of $100,000 for the past few years. The district has been using reserves to make up for it and not replaced some full-time paramedics through attrition. ?We are just watching it and hoping. It?s too early to call,? Gow said. Voters give their two cents Voters expressed mixed reactions to Measure D at the polls in Meadow Vista Tuesday afternoon. Ed Hunt, 71, Meadow Vista, said based on what he has read, he doesn?t support the tax increase for the Placer Hills Fire Protection District. ?We did vote on it and we voted against the measure, primarily for the increase on taxation,? Hunt said. ?Reading the text the department had, it just didn?t add up.? Fred Lofrano said as a board member for the fire protection district, he was one of the people who championed Measure E. Without it, Lofrano said the department will have to make cuts. Over the years, residents in the district have supported tax increases that added paramedics to fire crews. ?I am one of the ones that said we need the people?s support on it,? Lofrano said. ?Maintaining the current level of service is important. We?ve gotten to a certain level of service and it makes no sense to go backward.? Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com, or follow her on Twitter @AJ_News. ---------------------------------------------------- Measure E results as of 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday 708 Yes 608 No *totals are early vote by mail ballot tallies 0 of 9 of precincts reporting