By Linda Sutter – May 19, 2021
On May 18, 2021, the Fire Protection District held an Informational at 11:30 a.m. while most people were at work. Colette Santance a representative of PlanWest Partners from Arcata gave a presentation that would soon demonstrate her lack of knowledge in regards to the up and coming vote on the Fire tax that will affect our property taxes.
After a 15 minute presentation on how we should feel sorry for the fire protection entity, questions concerning unfair voting practices arose. The first question was, “What is the weighted value of the $1,000 dollar flat rate for commercial and apartment complexes.” Ms. Colette could not properly answer the question. The question was posed another way. How many votes would an apartment owner of 280 units receive. Ms. Colette states, “He would receive one EBU.” Confused, the public member stated, “What does that mean? And how many votes would Walt Miller receive for his 280 apartment units?”
Representative Colette Santance replied, “it is .059 times 280 you do the math.” Really? Was Planwest telling the public to do their job? At that time Vanessa Duncan the Fire District Clerk piped up, 244 votes. The public member gave Colette Santance a warning, “ If you’re not using true financial obligation to the weight of the ballots there is going to be a problem.
The next public member named Gerald Cochran who formerly worked in the Del Norte County Assessor’s office knew exactly what was going on. He stated if the weighted value of Walt Miller’s property was more than what individual property owners were paying then the weight of the property owners were carrying the burden of the tax instead of the multifamily property owners. This was clearly unfair to single family owners.
So the lesson here to learn folks is Planwest wants the Fire District to win the election so they knew the public would not understand Weighted votes. Planwest, knowing it was unlawful to conduct an election in this manner, sent 244 votes to Walt Miller and other multifamily property owners so that the Fire District could win this election.
This will prove to be once again another scandal by the Fire District who is using public money to the tune of $40,000 for this election. The former election in October cost, according to Chief Gillispie, $104,000.
Single property owners will carry the complete burden of the tax while big corporations and big property owners only have to pay $1,000 for all their units.