Supervisors approve fire tax ballot measure

The San Diego County Board of supervisors on Aug. 6, unanimously approved placing a new parcel tax measure on the Nov. 4 ballot that seeks to fund a regional fire agency to enhance firefighting resources and services.

The ballot measure would form the San Diego Regional Fire Protection Agency, which would be governed by a 10-member board along with levying a countywide tax of $52 per parcel. It is believed the tax will generate about $50 million a year to fight fires. The new fire agency would get 50 percent of the tax to use for regional firefighting efforts with a cap on administrative costs of 10 percent. The other 50 percent would be returned to local fire agencies.

The agency board of directors would be comprised of the mayor of the city of San Diego, a county supervisor who represents the backcountry, four city members representing North Inland, North Coastal, East and South County and four fire protection district representatives. Also on the board would be five non-voting members from CalFire, U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the U. S. Navy, the Marine Corp. and Indian reservation fire departments.

It is estimated the county will spend about $19 million on fire protection this fiscal year without the parcel tax.

The ballot measure requires a two-thirds majority of votes for passage.