There’s council discussion about raising the rate that hasn’t changed in 26 years but it decides against that.

BY DARRELL R. SANTSCHI
STAFF WRITER
dsantschi@pe.com

Published: 29 April 2012 05:28 PM

The Highland City Council voted this week to renew a paramedic tax that has been in place, unchanged, longer than Highland has been a city.

The tax, $19 per residence and $38 per business, will raise about $351,000 in the fiscal year that begins July 1, City Manager Joe Hughes told the council Tuesday night.

That pays only about a third of the cost of providing paramedics under a contract with Cal Fire.

It was first imposed as part of a county service area in place in Highland in 1986, a year before the city incorporated and assumed the service area’s responsibilities.

Discussion of the tax rate generated debate on the council whether to put a measure on the ballot to raise the rate.

“I would like to just point out that back in 1986, when this tax was originally proposed,” Hughes said, “a gallon of gas was 89 cents and today it is now $4. First-class postage was 22 cents and it’s now 44 cents. The Dow Jones Industrial Average back then closed at 1,895. Today it is over 13,000.”

Councilwoman Penny Lilburn noted that the city pondered putting a measure on the ballot several years ago to raise the tax rate.

“Because of the economy we decided to back off of it,” she said. “Is there any thought of revisiting this? I know the economy is no better, but this isn’t going to go away.”

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