Tax has Vallecito residents fired up

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By SCOTT PESZNECKER

Some Vallecito residents are still unsure about paying to improve the staff and equipment of the Murphys Fire Protection District.

In a meeting at the Vallecito firehouse last night, the district board met with about 15 residents to tell them about a proposed annual tax $75 on developed parcels and $25 on undeveloped parcels that will come before voters June 3.

The tax would generate about $108,000 its first year.

District directors read statements about the tax such as how the district would upgrade or repair all its safety equipment, hire two full-time firefighters and buy and equip a vehicle for medical calls only. Later, a district volunteer used a computer slide-show to answer commonly asked questions.

"Our apparatus runs the gamut from a 1998 engine to a 1967 engine," Interim Fire Chief Phil Phillips said. "A lot of our volunteers are younger than the fire apparatus they must operate from."

But when it came time for audience questions, the handful of people who spoke focused less on the tax and more on criticizing the fire district.

"People in this community and this is my opinion aren't getting anything from here," resident Dan Malatesta said.

Some people complained the Vallecito fire station has not been able to respond to several calls because there are no volunteers. Residents were also upset that nobody at the station knows how to drive the large fire engine.

Resident Judy Serra told directors Vallecito would be better off as part of the Altaville-Melones Fire District.

"We would be better off, probably, without you trying to maintain us," she said.

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The Union Democrat
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