COUNTY SUPERVISORS VOTE TO END CONTROVERSIAL FIRE TAX

Third District County Supervisor Dawn Rowe joined three other San Bernardino County Supervisors Tuesday in voting to temporarily suspend the increase in the controversial special fire fee known as FP-5, which partially funds the County Fire Department. The fee may be completely eliminated altogether. Rowe was joined by Supervisors Curt Hagman, Josie Gonzales, and Janice Rutherford. During the meeting, supervisors rejected the fire department’s request to increase the fee 3 percent next year, to $162. Property owners will still see the $157 fee on their 2019-20 property taxes. The supervisors also directed county staff to come up with alternatives to the unpopular fee within 90 days, including a possible tax measure to be put on a future election, and a sunset date for the fee. For more information about the FP-5 fee, see this story at z1077fm.com.

Third District County Supervisor Dawn Rowe joined 3 other San Bernardino County Supervisors Tuesday in voting to end the controversial special tax known as FP-5, which partially funds the County Fire Department. Rowe was joined by Supervisors Hagman, Gonzales, and Rutherford. During The meeting, the Board of Supervisors supported a motion by Supervisor Rutherford to end the FP-5 special tax, requiring the County’s Chief Executive Officer to report back to the Board in 90 days with funding alternatives for County fire services. At that point, the Board will consider placing the preferred alternative on the November 2020 General Election ballot for a vote of the people.  “Property owners deserve to have a voice in this process, which is why I believe FP-5 should be put before the public for a vote,” said Rowe. “I understand that taxpayers must fund basic government services like fire protection, but they should have an opportunity to weigh in on how much of their hard-earned dollars are collected by the County,” she added. In addition, Supervisor Rowe added a provision that eliminated the 3% proposed increase to the FP-5 special tax that would have taken effect in the 2019-2020 fiscal year. “Removing the proposed tax increase was the right move in light of the serious concerns I have over how the FP-5 assessment was imposed on citizens. I couldn’t, in good conscience, support the increase before the public has a chance to vote on the matter,” explained Rowe.

The essentials of the approved motion are:

Supervisor Rutherford’s motion:

·  FP-5 tax goes on the 2019/2020 tax roll.

·  County staff has 90 days to bring multiple options on how to fund County Fire

·  Supervisors decide which of the recommendations to place before the voters some time prior to January 1, 2021.

·  FP-5 sunsets after the vote and the solution approved by voters is implemented.

Supervisor Rowe’s amendment:

·  Disallowed the 3% increase for 2019/2020 (You will see a $157.26 FP-5 charge on your 2019 property tax rather than $161.98.)

·  Requires county staff to provide a variety of background material to justify claims associated with the solutions they will present in 90 days.

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