Measure B would fund equipment for Lake Valley Fire District
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — One of the measures on the El Dorado County March 3 ballot is asking taxpayers within the Lake Valley Fire District to approve a tax that would be used to purchase equipment.
Measure B would approve a special tax that would annually cost taxpayers $52 per household.
“We just don’t have the money in our budget to buy the things we need,” said LVF Chief Tim Alameda.
The money would only be used to buy equipment and apparatus and purchases would be approved by an independent oversight committee established by the district’s Board of Directors.
LVF services about 12,000 permanent residents and an additional 50,000 people during peak seasons.
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According to Alameda, in the 2019/20 fiscal year, the district made about $6.3 million and had approximately $5.6 million in expenses, including wages. The remaining $700,000 is not enough to replace aging equipment.
Most recently, the district was in desperate need of self-contained breathing apparatus. They applied for grants but eventually had to settle on financing the masks, although at a discount.
Alameda has already flagged the type one engines as reaching the end of their life expectancy.
They’ve had to get creative with funding, including having inmates perform touch-up paint jobs on vehicles, establishing a non-taxpayer fee for calls involving “out-of-towners” and they are looking to rewrite some of their mutual aid agreements.
“There are no stones left unturned,” Alameda said. “We had to go to the community and ask for help.”
In 2019, they responded to 1,400 calls, 1,200 of which were legitimate. Of those calls, 82 were fire related, 22 of those were related to unauthorized burnings, an all-time high.
“This is a big deal and we need to have the equipment to handle it,” Alameda said.
While the money won’t be used for salaries or staffing, the measure would still benefit staff by allowing them to have equipment that works.
“Our firefighters are working hard, we ask a lot of these guys,” Alameda said. “It’s not easy but they care a lot about the community and they put a lot in and I think the world of them.”
The department is hosting community meetings to discuss Measure B at 9 a.m. every Saturday in February at Freel Perk Coffee Shop in Meyers.
For more information, visit http://www.lakevalleyfire.org./measure-b.
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