Ballot Question SFPD #4

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Shall the Sierra Fire Protection District be authorized to issue up to $5,200,000 of general obligation bonds for the purpose of defraying the cost of acquiring, constructing, improving and equipping fire stations and acquiring fire engines and fire fighting equipment and to levy an additional property tax rate for the purpose of staffing, operating, maintaining and equipping the fire stations and acquiring and improving fire engines and fire fighting equipment of up to 4.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for a period of 30 years. The bonds are estimated to result in an increase in the property taxes that the owner of a new $100,000 home will pay, which will average $4.74 per year. In addition, the cost of the property tax levy for the owner of a new $100,000 home is estimated to be $15.75 per year. If this question is approved by the voters, any property tax levied as authorized by this question will be outside of the caps on a taxpayer’s liability for property (ad valorem) taxes established by the legislature in the 2005 session.

You'll be harder pressed these days to find open space left on Arrowcreek Parkway. But when the Sierra Fire Protection District was formed in the 19-50s the entire area was rural, and Sierra Fire was there to extinguish brush fight fires and protect water sheds.

Now thousands of homes and families have moved here and that means the SFPD must fill their needs.

Mike Greene is the fire chief for SFPD:

"This area here is the most fire prone area in the county and the most dangerous. It has the greatest value at risk as we look on the Sierra Front and that is why we need to get people here. It is about saving time, saving lives, saving property."

Green says the average response time in the area is 18 minutes.

He says the last time a staffed fire station was built south of the McCarran Loop was 19-82. The five-million-two-hundred-thousand dollars in obligated bonds would help build a fire station and staff here on Arrowcreek and Thomas Creek Parkway. Expansion of the Galena Fire Station is also part of the general obligation bonds. The plan would place a sheriff's substation at Galena.

The bonds result in an increase in property taxes. The owner of a $100,000 dollar home will pay an average $4.74 cents a year.

The property tax rate to be levied to repay the bonds will mean $15.75 cents a year on a new $100,000 dollar home.

Greene says if it passes homeowners in the area will get a re-rate. That means homeowners could see a decrease in insurance rates because of better fire protection. Greene says those decreases could off-set the cost of the bond and property tax levy.