$85 parcel tax would offset $1.3 million fire district shortfall
July 20, 2011 9:36 AM
Beau Yarbrough
Staff Writer

HESPERIA • A parcel tax to partly fund Hesperia’s fire service will appear on the ballot in November.

The Hesperia City Council voted Tuesday night to put a special parcel tax on the ballot, by a 3-to-2 vote, with Councilmen Russ Blewett and Paul Bosacki dissenting.

“I signed (a no new taxes) pledge” during the 2010 election season, Blewett said. “This is one person who will do exactly what he said he will do.”

“This is a three-legged donkey running in the Kentucky Derby,” Bosacki said. “It doesn’t have much of a chance.”

The Hesperia Fire District is technically a separate entity from the city of Hesperia and is primarily funded by 15 cents of every dollar residents pay in property taxes. With plummeting property tax revenue following the collapse of the residential housing market, the district has seen its revenues dwindle.

This year’s $8.3 million budget is $1.3 million short of last year’s $9.64 million — a drop of 14 percent. Last year, the City Council drained almost all of the district’s reserves keeping staffing at the same level, despite the decline in revenue.

The city contracts with the San Bernardino County Fire Department and is unable to negotiate salary and benefits directly.

To read more about the parcel tax, see the full story in Wednesday’s Daily Press. Get complete stories every day with the “exactly as printed” Daily Press E-edition, only $5 per month! Click here to try it free for 7 days. To subscribe to the Daily Press in print or online, call (760) 241-7755, 1-800-553-2006 or click here.

Beau Yarbrough can be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.