Mad River Union
McKINLEYVILLE – The McKinleyville Municipal Advisory Committee (McKMAC) voted unanimously June 24 in support of a ballot measure to help fund the town’s fire department.
The measure, which will likely appear on the Nov. 3 ballot, would raise taxes on a typical single family home by $118 a year, as the failed Measure R would have. The money would be used to restore firefighter positions to keep all three of the Arcata Fire District stations open
The district serves McKinleyville, Arcata, Manila, Bayside and Jacoby Creek.
Due to a budget deficit, the district has left some firefighter positions vacant as employees left for jobs at other agencies. With less staffing, the district has been forced to close one of its three stations on a rotating basis.
For McKinleyville, that means its station is unstaffed 17 weeks a year, with the nearest crew at the Mad River Station on Janes Road in Arcata.
Battalion Chief Sean Campbell said that the district’s reduced staffing and station closures would likely result in higher insurance premiums for homeowners, although it could take a couple years before insurance companies change the area’s fire ratings.
The McKMAC briefly discussed the Arcata Fire District’s name, and how it can be confusing for some McKinleyville voters, who may think that the fire department only covers Arcata.
“The name is certainly an issue for people voting in McKinleyville,” said Fifth District Supervisor Steve Madrone, who suggested an alternative name – the Arcata-McKinleyville Fire District.
As for the tax measure, McKMAC member Greg Orsini said “I’m fully in support of this being on the ballot.”
However, he questioned how the McKMAC should proceed, being that it is a county advisory committee.
McKMAC member Kevin Dreyer made a motion to draft a letter to the Board of Supervisors asking that they adopt a resolution in support of the tax measure. The motion was seconded by Barbara Georgianna and approved by the committee.