By LENORE RUTHERFORD
Ballot results of a proposed fire suppression tax assessment will be announced at the Twain Harte Community Services District directors meeting Tuesday.
If the ballot measure is successful, a fire suppression district will be promptly established Tuesday, and property owners within the district will be billed for the assessment on their Dec. 10 property tax bills.
Only property owners were allowed to vote on the proposal, and the number of votes each had depended on how much and what type of property each owned.
The assessment would amount to $59 annually per single family residence, $5.95 per vacant lot and varying amounts for larger parcels and commercial property.
The assessment will be approved if the vote in favor of it is 50 percent plus one vote. In a regular election, in which all residents of a district vote whether they own property or not, a two-thirds vote is needed for approval.
Consultant Josh Morris of Shiltz Consultants Inc. of Fairfield, who has handled the process for the district, will announce the results, which District Manager Don Kasso said were tallied by an independent firm.
Shiltz said in March one advantage of having an assessment rather than a regular tax is that the state cant take assessment money away from the district.
That is what caused the crisis that prompted the district to seek the assessment, said Kasso.
He said the state created the Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF) in 1991, which gave schools money that had been allocated to counties, cities and special districts.
The ERAF provided for an ongoing, annual shift in money, and a formula was given to counties to collect the money and give it to the state.
Tuolumne County miscalculated the formula, as did many other counties in the state, said Kasso, and the miscalculation was not discovered for several years.
In Tuolumne County, it turned out fire departments in particular had not had enough money taken away. That amounted to some $71,000 per year for the Twain Harte Fire Department.