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New ballots for Ripon Fire tax going In mail soon
Ripon fire

New ballots are scheduled to go out soon for the proposed Ripon Fire protection tax increase.

A ‘yes’ vote will help support the staffing of Ripon Consolidated Fire District Station 3.

Built almost a decade ago, the fire station at 1705 N. Ripon Road is unmanned.

A big reason for that is the Ripon Consolidated Fire District’s budget has deteriorated to the point that staffing is limited, allowing for three firefighters on duty – given an engine requires a minimum of two firefighters, that one engine happens to be the district’s downtown headquarters on Stockton Avenue.

At the June 11 Ripon City Council meeting, Fire Chief Eric DeHart said that property owners – residents and businesses within the 56-square-mile service area in this portion of southern San Joaquin County (5 square miles of that is the City of Ripon) receiving fire protection and emergency response services, as provided by RCFD – can expect to receive their new ballots by June 28.

Councilman Dean Uecker is for Prop. 218, saying: “I’ve been saved by our ambulance a couple of times.”

Elected leaders showed their support, voting 5-0 on those ballots for City of Ripon-owned properties.

RCFD posted Thursday that the previous news release dated June 12 provided an update on the Prop. 218 ballots, erroneously stating that the ballots would include green envelopes.

“We have since been notified that the actual color of the new ballots will be pink,” said RCFD via social media.

Added Sheri Coburn, who is the Chairperson of the Fire District Board, in the June 20 news release: “The new ballots are undergoing multiple proofreading to ensure accuracy and prevent a recurrence of the issues that rendered the previous ballots invalid.”

The mailing of the new ballots will go to property owners at their addresses on file with the San Joaquin County Assessor’s Office by the end of next week.

“Notably, if a property, owner’s mailing address is not in Ripon the assessment, if approved, will be applied to the Ripon property address, not the mailing address,” the news release said.

Once completed, the ballots can be mailed to the RCFD administration office at 142 S. Stockton Ave., or in person, same place, during business hours – Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 noon, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Once received, the ballots will be secured in the Board Clerk’s office until the Aug. 8 board meeting, scheduled to be tabulated following a public hearing.

Meanwhile, City Clerk & Finance Director Lisa Roos said in her report at the recent Council meeting, that “The (City of Ripon) has received 85 ballots for the city-owned parcels within the RCFD service area – the total amount of assessment for the 2024 year is $12,956.70.”

A standard, single family residence, for example, has a proposed assessment of $250.

“Based upon the weighing of the votes, the City’s vote would be the equivalent of 52 single family residence’s votes,” Roos noted.

The City currently does not pay RCFD fees or taxes for City-owned properties.

“If the Assessment is approved, the fiscal impact for 2024 would be $12,956.70 and would increase by 3 percent for inflation,” said Roos.

Funding for that amount would be paid by following operating funds – General ($8,038.14), Water ($1,765.84), Garbage ($631.60), Sewer ($1,384.24), and Streets & Roads ($1,136.88).