Wed. Apr 17th, 2024

By Samuel Strait, Reporter at Large – May 14, 2021

In the course of the past week following a series of articles on the
Crescent Fire Protection District’s new parcel tax proposal, a wealth of
new observations and comments were received and the parcel owners
affected were not happy.  It appears that they have a number of issues
related to the CFPD’s method of “Weighted Ballots”, the timing of the
District’s election, the $1,000 cap for “the wealthy”, as well as the
direction that the CFPD has chosen to spend the money should the measure
pass.  Beyond those particular issues which came up in nearly every
response to the articles there were a number of other issues of note
that were referred to in a few of the responses.  In this following
short version, the major issues will be outlined, as well as some of the
less common issues.

What seems to be the hottest potato that the District finds itself under
fire for, is the “Weighted Ballots”, where the feeling is that one
biased large property owner would have the potential of putting his
thumb on the scale of the election and determine the outcome for the
District’s entire roughly 5,000 parcel owners.  The feeling is that not
all property owners will realize the full extent of what the District is
planning to do and in a non election year low voter response could allow
for a single large property owner to determine the entire results of the
election.  Not fair by any means to single family parcel owners.

The next major concern is the timing of the election that places it at a
time of the year where most voters are not expecting to have to weigh in
on a tax measure and may not return their ballots (simply throw them
away) or not take the time to research the ramifications of yet more
money out of their pockets when a large tax bill is due the following
November and it becomes difficult for many parcel owners without a $74
increase. Furthermore most tax payers are well aware of the immediate
and rapid increases to the cost of living just since the first of the
year.  A tax voted for now may come as a rude shock next November paying
the increased amount making it very difficult for some to pay.   It was
also pointed out that the CFPD does not seem to understand that their
particular proposed increase is one of but many to be faced over the
next few months.

The $1,000 cap on “wealthy parcel owners” is another specific issue that
received some rather salty language when discussing this particular
benefit that only “certain” parcel owners would receive.  There was
considerable speculation that a “deal” had been worked out to shield
expensive developments from a large assessment in order to attract their
large voting blocks.  When it was pointed out that these particular
parcel owners could simply vote “No” and receive no additional
assessment and likely no loss of service, most who voiced the complaint
were unmoved.

The final and consistent issue raised was the feeling that hiring three
Captains, was a move to a paid full time fire department, something that
was generally viewed with significant unease.  Most complained that the
current District’s calls hardly warranted a move to focus on fire
service calls with three fire captains when attracting a like number of
paramedics seemed to be a much more practical direction as well as not
requiring three very expensive positions to be filled.  Coupled with
this observation was the District’s forward planning appeared to include
significantly larger and more expensive fire equipment.  This was
something viewed with concern over the direction of the proposed hires.

Most who commented appeared to not be aware of the fact that the
assessment had no sunset.  Once informed, that elicited a great deal of
concern.  Clearly, the trust in agencies who are funded by tax dollars
no longer carries an automatic trust factor that they will do what they
say they will do, then get back out of their district owner’s pockets. 
This particular bit of information brought a completely new level of
concern for those that had already voted “Yes” on ballots and sent them
in to be counted. Informing them that the opportunity to change their
mind still existed and they could still change their vote to “No” or
vice versa.  Large parcel owners who now realize that their “Yes” vote
to avoid paying a large assessment by the cap, might consider changing
their vote back to “No” as it would eliminate the need for any
additional cash out lay without loss of service and makes good business
“sense” not to be encumbered by even the modest and reduced outlay.

It generally appeared that most who bothered to respond felt the fire
district was over reaching, and often referenced the promise by the
County to support it’s fire districts.  With the current measure they
felt the District lacked reasonable direction and patience with the
County considering the sales tax had just begun to be collected and the
“advisory” committee had not been formed. With the consideration of the
District’s change in immediate budget concerns, it was generally felt
“Too Big, Too Soon” and the “No” vote was an imperative.

One thought on “CFPD’s Parcel Tax Revisited”
  1. The question is….Is the CFPD under investigation for fraud and money laundering. The short answer is yes.
    During the november election of 2020 Measure S had an election committee under the Debra and Matthew Wakefield and Richard Wier. They obtained 15,000 dollars from the fire fighters association. The fire fighters association received this money from the CFPD. This is tax payers money that cannot be donated to any organization. The common denominator is Richard Wier. He was currently the fire fighter association president and the secretary on the “keep our city safe and strong” Measure S committee. Seems like a conflict of interest. what was ugly about the whole mess was the fact that the economic statement forms demonstrated the Measure S committee had indeed received the 15,000.00 dollars. Receipts had been obtained from the Crescent Fire Protection Department off Washington Blvd. that demonstrated the fire department had donated the money to the fire fighters association. However On the economic interest statement, 6,000.00 was missing. oops…. and that ladies and gentlemen is how money disappears without anyone’s knowledge.

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