Measure A — a parcel tax measure on the June 5 ballot designed to raise $1.2 million a year to staff the Ripon Consolidated Fire District station on River Road fulltime – is the subject of a town hall meeting tonight.
The Ripon Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring 6:30 p.m. gathering at the Ripon Council Chambers, 259 N. Wilma Ave.
Representatives of Bethany Home and the Ripon Consolidated Fire District have been invited to present their views. The town hall is being moderated by Ripon Councilman Leo Zuber.
The tax would be assessed at $125 a year for homes while each of the 290 Bethany Home Living units ranging from independent living apartments to assisted care rooms would be charged $250.
It the measure receives the required two thirds “yes” votes to pass, it will also put in place language that allows the fire board annually to increase the tax by the greater of either 2 percent or the change in the California Consumer Price Index. That means after the initial year of taxes being imposed starting in July 2018 should the measure pass, a residential home’s tax burden could increase at least $2.50 a year while Bethany Homes could increase at least $5 a unit.
The parcel tax, if approved, would be on top of the existing property tax that went into effect in 1985.
That is in addition to fees new development pays when they start construction on a project to help fund facilities and equipment.
The district is seeking to raise $1.2 million a year to allow the new station in northeast Ripon to have 24/7 staffing with nine fulltime firefighters as opposed to the hit and miss with volunteer staffing.
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 full-time firefighters to respond to medical emergencies in the area.
That’s a critical component given the majority of a fire department’s calls are related to medical emergencies.
During the week ending April 29, Ripon Fire responded to 39 calls of which 27 were classified as emergencies within the 55 square mile district that includes the City of Ripon.
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.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org