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Ripon fire tax measure trails by 2 to 1 margin
ripon fire 7

The effort to raise $1.2 million a year for the Ripon Consolidated Fire District to staff the River Road station 24/7 with fulltime firefighters is trailing in early returns

Measure A in the last update made early this morning was being rejected with a 62.27 percent no vote as opposed to a 32.73 percent yes vote. A two-thirds majority is needed for passage.  Five of 25 precincts were counted as of midnight.

While the remaining votes cast in-person at polling places on Tuesday are expected to be tallied sometime today, the unofficial vote is far from being other.

More than 70 percent of the votes cast this election were expected to be by mail. That slows down the counting press considerably as the names and signatures of each ballot need to be cross checked plus ballots postmarked June 5 that arrive within a certain time also will be counted. The first update of mail in ballot counting will be on Tuesday, June 5. Four additional updates are planned on June 12, June 15, June 19, and June 22. The final official results will be posted no later than July 5.

The measure spurred a lot of controversy over a decision to assess each living unit at Bethany Home — a non-profit assisted and unassisted living complex for seniors founded by Ripon churches more than 50 years ago — at a yearly rate that was double other residences within the 55 square-mile fire district. The Bethany Home rate was $250 a year as opposed to $125 for single family homes.

The measure also has an annual adjustment in the parcel tax rate.

Should the measure pass Fire Chief Dennis Bitters will pursue a plan to place the department’s reserve ambulance at the River Road station and use the fulltime firefighters to respond to medical emergencies in the area.

Having a second manned ambulance at the River Road location would serve two purposes. Not only would it lead to faster response times to existing development in the northeast section of Ripon including Colony oak, Ripona and Park View schools along with Mistlin Sport Park but if the ambulance at Stockton Avenue is tied up on a call it would provide a second unit manned 24/7 that could respond anywhere within the district.
The River Road station was built in a location to cover the bulk of the city where future development is occurring as well as to reduce response times to residents in need of help in the eastern section of Ripon.

The district is seeking to raise $1.2 million a year to allow the newer station in northeast Ripon to have 24/7 staffing with nine fulltime firefighters as opposed to the hit and miss with volunteer staffing.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email