Templeton Guide|Monday, November 19, 2018
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Help save Templeton Fire 

From the Templeton Magazine

Templeton-Fire

Since the mid-2000’s, the Templeton Community Services District has struggled to find a permanent and reliable funding source to help offset the ongoing costs associated with the increasing demands on fire and emergency services. In 2009, in an effort to address these funding issues, the District went to property owners for a special benefit assessment. Unfortunately, the Great Recession which ran from 2007-2010 caused the tax measure to fail. However, even with that set back, the District continued to find creative ways to maintain fire and emergency services. In 2012, the District successfully applied for and received a Federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant which allowed the District to hire one additional fulltime firefighter. The funding for this grant expired in 2016 and multiple attempts at a new SAFER Grant have failed.

In 2015, the District commissioned SCI to survey voters and property owners to determine if there was support for a parcel tax or special benefit assessment. The survey was conducted without any education of the voters in an attempt to get an unbiased opinion. At the time of the survey, SCI determined there was insufficient support and recommended not proceeding with the ballot without an aggressive public education effort. The District is exhausting all other funding options, but maybe forced to pursue a parcel or special benefit assessment at some point in the near future.

In 2017, the District Board of Directors voted to create a Community Facility District (CFD) for new residential and commercial development which will ensure new development pays their fair share of the increase demand for emergency services. Unfortunately, these fees will take several years to materialize, and will not address the current funding shortfalls we are experiencing, but do help us prepare for future service level funding.

The District is also aggressively pursuing the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors for an increased share of our property tax allocation. All the property taxes paid by District property owners, only 8.4 cents on every dollar come back to the District. The District’s only source of funding fire and emergency services and parks and recreation comes from property taxes. Even though Templeton generates $1.6 million dollars in sales tax annually we do not see a dime of that revenue, it all goes to San Luis Obispo County.

The District has been attempting to negotiate with San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors and Administrative staff since 2016 to increase our property tax allocation. Our goal is to adjust the property tax allocation by 3.6% which equals an additional $450,000 to the District. These funds will greatly assist our organizations ability to provide fire and emergency services on a 24 hour, 7 day a week basis. This option utilizes existing taxes and does not further burden our community. Our only other option includes bringing another voter or property owner-approved benefit assessment or a parcel tax to provide a reliable and sustainable funding mechanism.

For more than 120 years, Templeton Fire and Emergency Services has been a proud and important part of our community. Our staff of a halftime fire chief, two full-time captains and up to 30 paid call firefighters (PCFs) is honored to provide highly trained and skilled fire, medical, rescue and public service response. As Templeton grows both in residential and commercial development, the Department is seeing an increase in emergency and non-emergency calls for service which places further demands on our community’s first responders.

If we are to keep our fire and emergency services local, we desperately need your support. The Department is looking for local individuals, business owners and organizations that understand and value the services Fire and Emergency Services personnel provide to you, our neighbors, family and friends. We all desire to keep our neighborhoods and residents safe, healthy and protected. Your influence in and commitment to Templeton can help us do just that. We want to invite you to join the Friends of the Templeton Fire and Emergency Services ambassadors group. The Friends of the Templeton Fire and Emergency Services will assist in providing public information with the mission of spreading the message about the Department’s challenges, opportunities, services and goals to others in the community. If you are interested in being a part of this grassroots effort to support the Templeton Fire and Emergency Services, please email Fire Chief Bill White at chief@templetoncsd.org or call (805) 434-4911.

A way to immediately show the community you support Templeton Fire and Emergency would be to purchase stickers or car magnets. The stickers are $2.00 and the car magnets are $5.00. We also have free Save Templeton Fire Department bumper stickers. This is a great way to show your pride and commitment to our Department. Stickers, magnets and bumper stickers are available at the Templeton Fire and Emergency Services, located at 420 Crocker Street.

The Department is also looking for monetary donations to help offset the costs associated with providing emergency services which cannot be captured by the general fund. If you would like to help out financially, the Department is looking for voluntary, tax deductible donations to help support ongoing staffing and operational needs. If you would like to donate, please make your tax deductible check out to Templeton Fire and Emergency Services. For tax preparations purposes, please utilize Internal Revenue Code section 170(a) and (c) (1) and California Revenue and Taxation Code section 17201(a). Any donation would be greatly appreciated and we thank you very much for your support.

 

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