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Parcel tax cost justified

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We are voting for Measure B, the parcel tax to support the Newcastle Fire Protection District (NFPD). The amount of money our fire district currently gets from property taxes (currently about $320,000 per year) cannot sustain a 24-hour, seven days a week operation which is vital for our community. The property tax percentage for our fire district was established when it was primarily an all-volunteer organization and times have changed. Even if property tax revenue goes up with increasing property values in our area, it won’t be sufficient funds to support it. Currently our homeowner’s insurance rates are based on 24/7 protection with a fire station nearby, so our fire insurance rating is good (ISO rating). This rating will most likely increase without the NFPD which means increased insurance rates. We have had two major fires on our street alone in the last 10 years, and been threatened with nearby fires numerous times. This is a very real concern living in the rural foothills. Quick fire and medical response time is extremely important. Measure B will not repeal Proposition 13 as we’ve heard incorrectly stated, but it will mean local support and control over our fire protection. We feel that the cost of the parcel tax will be much less than the increased cost of insurance, decreased property values, and increased risk to our lives. Please support Measure B to help maintain the wonderful quality of life we have in Newcastle. KATHLEEN DEVITT and JOHN PAYNE, Newcastle