Ballot Measure 20-316 is not fair, equitable or beneficial for Pleasant Hill taxpayers. This measure proposes the dissolution of the Pleasant Hill Fire District (PHFD) and annexation into the Goshen Fire District.
As background information, PH and Goshen agreed to share the services of a common fire chief in 2013 to reduce the total expenses being paid for the two Chief positions. The good news is this agreement has been in place since that time and results in a net savings to both fire departments. Additionally, the combined staff of our two fire departments is over 50 volunteers and career staff according to a recent public document. However, Measure 20-316 would implement other factors which are detrimental to Pleasant Hill taxpayers.
g 20-316 increases taxes paid by PHFD taxpayers by 56%. That’s the result of increasing the PHFD tax rate from the $1.10 to $1.72 / $1,000 assessed valuation as requested by this Measure. On a cost basis, this change increases the 2020 PHFD property taxes for our district from $420,000 to $655,000.
g Historically, PHFD has managed its finances very well without additional tax levies. Vehicle and equipment purchases have been made within the limits of existing tax rate of $1.10 including the recent purchase of a new fire engine costing approximately $250,000.
g Tax revenues for the PHFD increase each year based on the county tax assessment values with historical increases ranging from 3% to 4% annually. An example, in 2009 the assessed taxes were $292,000 and in 2020 they were $420,000. The PHFD 2020 taxes are based on property assessed value of $380,897,435 compared to Goshen’s assessed property value of $322,237,103.
g Another measure of financial status of the PHFD is the available cash and cash equivalents on-hand at the end of each audit year (June 30). For the past 10 years the PHFD cash on-hand has increased from $222,000 in 2009 to $618,000 in ’19 per annual audit reports. It is the savings from year to year that have funded our major vehicle purchases.
The basic conclusion of the above information is that the PHFD is adequately funded and staffed with the existing tax rate of $1.10 and there is no need to increase the taxes of the PHFD by 56% ($1.72) as proposed in Measure 20-316.
The following statement was published on social media by the Goshen Fire Board member intended for the Goshen voters: “New board members would be voted on in a special election … and consist of 3 members from the current Goshen district and 2 from the current Pleasant Hill district.” (10/17/20 NextDoor Mathews Rd Dilly Ln.)
This distribution of Board composition is an attempt to skew the Fire Board in the Goshen favor to the detriment of the Pleasant Hill community. This is not an equitable arrangement for residents of the PHFD.
Measure 20-316 is not good for the Pleasant Hill taxpayer. Vote no on Measure 20-316.
Bob Schutte is a former PHFD board member.