GCSD director changes his mind on fire tax

archive_import

By MIKE JENSEN

A Groveland Community Services District director is calling a proposed fire tax in his district unfair and says he won't vote for it.

"As a citizen, land owner and tax payer I will be voting 'no' on this tax...," Director Joe Moore stated in a one-page letter sent to The Union Democrat Thursday.

While several south county residents have questioned the need for the proposed "benefit assessment," this is the first time a GCSD official has spoken out against the tax.

Earlier this month directors voted to send ballots to area property owners asking them to hand over more than $200,000 per year to help fund the GCSD fire department.

General Manager Jeff Winner said the tax would offset increased operating costs and lower revenue resulting from a Tuolumne County accounting error. The error, discovered by state auditors last year, resulted in GCSD being overpaid $970,000 in property tax throughout the 1990s. The money should have instead gone to the state's Education Revenue Augmentation Fund (ERAF).

While Moore was among GCSD directors voting in favor of sending out the ballots earlier this month. he said Thursday that he has since changed his mind. Among concerns raised in his statement:

? The tax proposal is "premature" as it relates to paying back ERAF money to the state. "There is every possibility that this amount will be forgiven," he states.

? The ERAF error has reduced the department budget by about $60,000, he states. But, "The proposed tax is asking for an excess of $220,000."

? "Our fire chief has added three additional firefighters with no fiscal plan as how to finance or budget their salaries. (One) position on the department is currently vacant. This one position creates a $30,000 annual savings to the department. Our fire department currently enjoys one of the most expensive budgets in the county."

? The proposed tax is "apportioned unfairly," he states, noting that a person living in a small home on several areas of land would be asked to pay more than somebody living in a larger more expensive home on less acreage. A flat tax would be more fair, he states.

11699932
The Union Democrat
This image is copyrighted.

Reach all of Sonora, Calaveras County, Tuolumne, Angels Camp, Twain Harte, & Jamestown with your items to sell.

Ads appear Online and in Print

View Classifieds Place an Ad

Connect with The Union Democrat

Union Democrat Newsstand

Saturday October 1, 2016

Read digital interactive editions of our publications

Read Today's Edition Take A Tour

More Publications by The Union Democrat

View All Publications
Fire threatens Hetch Hetchy infrastructure

09/26/2016

A fire burning in grass and oak woodland near the Moccasin Powerhouse ... more

Marshes Fire grows to 1,000 acres

09/27/2016

Firefighters with dirty faces and bulldozer drivers clad in fire-retardant gear toiled ... more

Hazard tree removal delayed

09/27/2016

Removal of trees destroyed last year by the Butte Fire may not ... more

Tough parking enforcement irks some Sonora merchants

09/29/2016

Downtown Sonora business owners say the city’s parking-enforcement program is too unforgiving ... more