Nov. 9, 2010 • Not passing measure U may cost more in the long run

The Susan River Fire Protection District’s failed attempt at passing a parcel tax may end up doing more harm than good now that it has officially been shot down. While the majority within the district’s protection area did vote in favor of it, a two-thirds vote was required for passage.

That last 5 percent may end up costing everyone in the district who pays for fire insurance.

With the district now facing drastic cuts to services, equipment and possibly fire stations, the fire insurance rates for everyone in the district are sure to go up. The district will begin the process of doing everything it can to stay open, which means there will be an inevitable reduction in the quality of its fire services. We all appreciate how the volunteer firefighters of the district work hard to keep us protected despite a paper-thin budget. It’s hard to vote in favor of a tax increase when everyone is still smarting from a rough economy. But with Measure U, at least the money generated from the tax would have primarily gone directly to the district, and not the state coffers.

Now that the measure failed, it will now be up to the Insurance Services Office to determine how much more people will pay in homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. The ISO rating is based on how well the county and fire departments can keep the community safe. The higher the rating, the more individual insurance costs.

The increased ISO rating is going to potentially cost everyone in the district more money than if the measure had passed. That rating will be very hard to bring back down without the necessary funding and resources for the fire district in the area.

It’s hard to say if the Susan River Fire Protection District will try to pass a third tax measure. Only time will tell if not passing a tax, which no one wants, was wise or not.