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Supervisors sends $1.1M more to 19 fire districts throughout SJ County
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STOCKTON — The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Tuesday increased funding for local fire districts by $1.1 million annually.

It will cover  approximately a quarter of the funding fire districts throughout the county have lost collectively  because of the Proposition 172 Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF) shift that started in 1993.

The funds will be distributed between the 19 districts within the County that are currently impacted by Prop 172 funding shifts.   

“Our residents rely on fire departments for life-saving assistance, and our Board wants to ensure that they are staffed and have the equipment they need to provide top level service to our communities,” said Board Chairman Miguel Villapudua

After multiple meetings between the County and the Fire Chiefs Executive Board, the County Administrator prepared two options for Board consideration that would provide the Fire Districts impacted by the ERAF shift with a General Fund allocation equal to 1.0% or 0.5% of the projected 2023- 2024 Proposition 172 revenue.

The Board opted to fund an additional 1% or $1,130,621 to Fire Districts.

“Our local fire departments provide vital services in our communities, and the Board wants to ensure that they are properly funded to provide our residents with essential fire services,” commented Supervisor Robert Rickman, who represents the Fifth District that includes Ripon, rural south Manteca, Tracy, and Mountain House. “Public safety is the top priority of this Board, and I appreciate the work of the Fire Chiefs and County Administrator coming together to benefit our communities.”

 In 1993, Proposition 172 established a permanent statewide half-cent sales tax to provide funding for qualifying public safety programs.

The purpose was to partially replace the property taxes that were shifted from local agencies to local school districts as part of the 1993-1994 State budget agreement. The revenue shifted was called Educational Revenue Augmentation Funds (ERAF).

In 2023-2024, the half-cent sales tax is estimated to backfill approximately $113.1 million of the $206.6 million loss to the County.

 After Board direction during the 2022-2023 Proposed Budget Hearings, Supervisor Rickman, County Administrator’s Office staff, and the Fire Chiefs Executive Board met periodically to explore a plan by which the Fire Districts that were impacted by the ERAF shift could receive an allocation of funds related to Proposition 172 revenue received by the County.