Poll: Measure Q $75 Parcel Tax for ConFire

One of the most contested issues in Contra Costa County this campaign season is Measure Q is approved, which will levy a parcel tax of $75 each year on owners of single-family homes. Industrial and commercial landowners would pay $75 per quarter-acre. Agricultural and vacant property owners would pay $37.50 per parcel. Apartment owners would pay $37.50 per unit. The proposed tax would go into effect July 1, 2013 and terminate on June 30, 2020.

The tax, if approved, is expected to generate $16.8 million a year in additional tax revenue for the district. Over 100 retired workers for the district are being paid in excess of $100,000 each year in retirement benefits. 8 retired workers for the district receive an annual pension in excess of $200,000.

Measure S, a $197/year parcel tax proposal for the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District, was on the June 5, 2012 ballot. It was decisively defeated, with 56.2% of voters rejecting it. A 2/3rds supermajority vote is required for approval. Fire chief Daryl Louder claims that if Measure Q parcel tax fails, he will have to close seven fire stations in July 2013 and three in 2014. The editorial board of the Contra Costa Times wrote, “Residents of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District are being offered a false choice: Approve a $75-a-year parcel tax on the Nov. 6 ballot or face the shutdown of nearly one-third of the district’s stations. It’s political blackmail.”

The Contra Costa Fire Protection District is often referred to as “ConFire.” The district includes 28 fire stations. It serves 304 square miles in nine cities and several unincorporated areas throughout the central part of Contra Costa County. The fire protection district is “among the 14 largest metropolitan fire agencies” in California. It serves a population of approximately 600,000 people.

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Comments

  1. Brian says

    Bill, are we in communist China now? Are you really trying to run a website where people have open dialogue about issues and opposing opinions can be heard, or are you more interested in a “One Sided” conversation with no opposing dialogue? Scanning logs for IP Addresses sounds very much like what China did to google users. I am not surprised that users on this site would take that tactic. By the way, no where in your TOU does it say that you are going to broadcast IP Addresses for dissenting opinions, expose email or other information. You and your users tout the conservative and protection of constitutional rights, but want to squash the first amendment right? Seriously?

    • says

      First amendment rights? China? Seriously? If frustrated, bored, county accountants (class III) are so bored and ill-informed that all they have time or capablity for is to lob poorly written, anonymous stink bombs at posters and commenters here during your work hours without advancing any conversation whatsoever, makes it my legitimate business to ride herd on such rude behaviour. As an anonymous coward, how can such a claim of abuse by you even be made?

      If you want to continue to royle the stack with rhetorical molotov cocktails then own your words and post and comment with your real name. If you did, I dont think your feckin comments here or at claycord would be so bold.

    • Voter says

      Brian, I think what Real American Citizens are concerned with is the few slacking low level public employees passing garbage on blogs on our tax money. This makes the Real American Public Employees look bad. Maybe you should jump over to claycord or jerkforoakley where the real liberal extremists hang out.

  2. Jane Q Citizen says

    BGR you are another sad pathetic wanna-be important person……anyonr can run a blog and yours is at best second rate…….perhaps you should take lessons from a first rate blog like Claycord……..the Mayor could teach you a thing or two about how to run a a first class blog…………………

    • Public Employee Watch says

      It is time to document and record the dates and times of this public employee who is using our tax dollars for personal use. I will contact some people at the county level to trace this back to the computer/computers that these aliases originate from. Then we will respond directly to this person through the legal system.

      Thank You, BGR for exposing more goverment waste and public employee abuse while on our dime.

  3. Jane Q Citizen says

    Ms Hunt – I understand budgets and I bet I understand them better than you……..Do you understand that “pension spiking” comes from Fire Chiefs, Police Chiefs/County Sheriff, Dept Heads, Board of Sup members and not rank and file. Thank-God I’m leaving the idiots of CC County behind by year end. Hate to see what happens when there is a major fire and there are no firefighter around to fight it as they will go to other areas that actually appreciate them…….CC County…………home of the “stuck on stupids”

    • Kris Hunt, Executive Director says

      Yes, that is why CCCERA has OVER 700 people earning pensions of $100,000. Oh and by the way 40% are firefighters. Feel free to check the data on our website. It came from CCCERA.

      But that is not the real issue, it is that the pay and benefits for ConFire are unaffordable.

      By the way Jane – I have an MBA and did budgets and cost analysis for a major corporation.

  4. Kris Hunt, Executive Director says

    Jane or whoever you are, we do represent the poor people. There was a lady I always refer to ask Mrs X who came to the county to complain about the cost of the $20 clean water tax. That was going to impact her life. Imagine what the understated $75 tax would do to her.

    Are you aware how many people live on fixed incomes? Do you understand the unemployment/underemployment figure for California is 19.6%? That is huge. Those people are all suffering. It is you and your friends (or as Bill points out they are just one person) who are out of touch with the real world.

    It appears that Q is unlikely to pass giving the little money the firefighters union was willing to spend on it. Tomorrow is the time to begin fixing ConFire for the long term.

  5. Jane Q Citizen says

    Anyone that listens to Ms Hunt is an IDIOT!!!! Think about who the Taxpayers Assoc really represent……The rich old folks in Rossmoor……..and the wealthy of Lafayette, Alamo, Danville etc. If you live in Concord, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg etc tell me have you EVER…EVER seen her at a city council mtg….No….I go to Concord Mtgs all the time and have never seen her.
    This woman does not represent the working class in Contra Costa County. See is for the wealthy and bought and paid for by the wealth……if she had to get a real job where she had to really work like most of us she would last maybe……MAYBE a day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember working Joe’s and Jane’s this woman does not represent you.

    • says

      Why is it that, according to the IP address all of these attacks from anonymous cowards (“Jane Q”,”Munson”, “Robert”, “Sean”, “DJ”, “mike”, and “Brian”, ALL come from the same IP address 64.166.144.11 which resolves to Contra Costa County government, probably the same facility where the office/name server of the clerk of court resides? I say this as messages from County Clerk Steve Weir who posts here from time to time also shows the same IP. I am certainly not accusing Steve, as he is a stand up guy. The upshot is apparently there is one or two anonymous cowards that try to hide behind County servers, during work day, to spew their unfounded personal attacks.

  6. R. Munson W.C says

    Remember all, this tax is to keep stations open. It does not fund retirement. The fire fighters pay 25% of their own salery towards their retirement, no county, city or anyone else pays that much. Simple math, if you work in this retirement system for 25 years and retire you will live off your own contributions for 17 years before any money from the county is used. If you die your spouse will only get 50% of the money. If you have nobody, back in the system it goes. Kris Hunt, you need to quit bashing the fire fighters, the governing board voted it in. If you were offered this you would jump at it, dont lie and say no.

    • Voter26 says

      Munson, this TAX is about not being responsible by the County and Fire District leaders. It is not about the ability, love, honor, and respect of firefighters. Using that as an excuse to bash CoCo Tax is hypocritical. The County and District have known this was coming for years and did next to nothing. Why should we keep digging into our pockets to support wasteful spending and inept leadership? It is time for the common taxpayer to just say I have no more disposable cash for your poor management. People today are hurting bad because of our top government. The lower government just keeps asking for more and more and we end up with less and less. The real sad part is that they could care less about our children’s burden that they continue to increase through debt and irresponsible management.

      Please vote No on Q

      and YES on 32

      Your children’s future debt depends on you.

    • Kris Hunt, Executive Director says

      Do you not understand how budgets work? The money is critical to paying pensions, retiree health care, the money borrowed for pension bonds, etc. You cannot pretend otherwise. But to deal with other issues in the comments.

      First of all, most people fund 100% of their own retirement. Most people do not have a retirement plan nor can they afford to retire at 50.

      Second, I have fully made the district board responsible for this. Allowing the district to get into this financial condition is completely unacceptible.

      Third, the district is paying over 100% of salary for benefits. This is unsustainable.

      Fourth, yes revenue is down BUT it is the increase in pension costs that is driving the district’s problems. Please read the numbers instead of listening to rhetoric.

  7. Bruce R. Peterson Lafayette says

    The obviously corrupt Contra Costa Times, has another front page propaganda piece by Lefty Lisa Vorderbrueggen, about Measure Q today.
    Hopefully voters will be intelligent enough to vote against this tax.
    Lisa V. my be a decent person to talk to @ events, but the credibility of her stories is suspect.

  8. Kris Hunt, Executive Director says

    It is the few endorsements that Meausure Q has logged that is surprising. It is good to see that the electeds do see what a disaster this Measure actually is. It does not solve the District’s problems.

    • rick says

      Kris,
      You are absolutely clueless. You make it sound like nobody endorses this tax measure. Walnut Creek is the only city that hasn’t endorsed it and Clayton abstained. I live in Walnut Creek and have passed out flyers in support of Measure Q right here where I live. The council may have not endorsed it, but the citizens certainly are interested in it. Every other city and organization and/or agency in ConFire’s response area, endorces this tax. I’ve put in the time in support of this and rest assured this measure is alive and well. The only hope that you guys have is that it will take a 66.7% vote to get it passed. CoCoTax(joke), CoCo Times(who will be out of business one day), and this hack website(nobodys), and 1 (unfit)supervisor oppose this measure. THAT’s it. I can’t wait for this tax to pass so I can hear your mumbling excuses and rhetoric.

  9. TaxDog says

    Everyone also needs to remember that the union dues for these firefighters approach $200. per month. That money originates from the taxpayers. Out of that several hundred dollars, a very good size amount is paid out to political officials campaigns. This is done by the special interest fellows at the top without the pre majority vote of the union employees. So we can dump the union, raise the firefighters wages by $400 a month AND save $400. per month from each firefighter while wasting the paper and ink on colorful brochures telling us how great the union is and how to vote. Remember this when you vote on prop 32 too! The entire fire union, pension, benefit, spike garbage is a waste of taxpayer’s money. Firefighters are wonderful but fix the problem! The government already gets more than enough money from me!
    Yes on 32 No on Q

    • rick says

      Tax,
      Who gives a crap where the money “originates” from. Do we REALLY want to get into that?! All’s I know is that it’s the employee’s money to do with as he/she wishes. You “taxpayers” think you’re way important than you really are. Oh wait, I’m a tax payer too…nevermind. Thank goodness that Romney and 32 will lose.
      YES ON Q and NO on 32

  10. Wendy Lack says

    Yes on Q has endorsements from all the usual suspects . . . no new blood:

    http://www.protectccfire.com/endorsements/

    Support from public employee unions and related labor interests is not a plus to most voters this year. The Yes on Q endorsement list is a bad sign for Q’s prospects at the ballot box — notwithstanding the unscientific H2C poll results.

    I have yet to encounter a single man-on-the-street average voter that supports Measure Q, though I continue to search . . . .

  11. Doing the work says

    $75 per year or about 21 cents per day. I think I would rather pay 21 cents per day to assure that my home has emergency services in a timely manner.

    As far as the pensions for retire firefighters. The deed is done, and we are on the hook. We voted in these elected officials that put these luxurious pensions in place. The firefighters figured out how to scam the system. AB 340 fixes some of the pension problems, but really no one should be making more than their base salary as their pension. How greedy are people? Pretty greedy.

    Perhaps we should pay more attention to who we elect.

    • Kris Hunt, Executive Director says

      That $75 does not remotely solve the problem. The District even admitted that. They have been putting off replacing equipment (and continue to do so during the next 7 years of the tax. The pension problem continues to grow. When the tax ends, the district is broke. Oh, yes and the District owes a fortune for pensions and retiree health care.

      IF they were a business they would be insolvent. The District needs to be responsible and deal with their problems in the long term.