Mad River Union
ARCATA/MCKINLEYVILLE – A special property tax to fund the Arcata Fire District was overwhelmingly passed on Election Day, Nov. 3.
The second post-election report showed that 12,768 voters, or 75.31 percent, voted in favor of the property tax. Just 4,185 voters, or 24.69 percent, opposed the measure. Measure F needed at least 66.67 percent of the yes vote to succeed.
Under Measure F, the average single family home will be assessed $118 a year. The tax will replace an existing tax, resulting in a net increase of $98 for such a household.
Measure F is almost identical to Measure R, which failed in March, with 9,245 voters, or 63.76 percent, voting in favor of the measure. Even though that represented more than a majority of voters, it failed to garner the two-thirds super-majority that was required for approval.
After Measure R failed, the district closed one of its three stations on a rotating basis. The district plans to use Measure F money to fill vacant firefighter positions and keep all three stations open, 24/7.
In the board packet for the Tuesday, Nov. 10 meeting, Chief Justin McDonald offers a five-year plan for Measure F implementation. He further suggests that full staffing and station reopening could come as soon as late January.
“The most important point to reiterate is that the process of reopening the third station will take time and that the District will not see the income from Measure F until January 2022,” McDonald stated. “It is anticipated that we could open the third station permanently by the end of January 2022. This is a rough draft and our situation still fluid and the plan will likely be subject to change and updates.”
In any event, McDonald doesn’t foresee final election counts to alter the outcome.
“While it is likely that the final tally will change as the final ballots are received and counted, it is speculative to say that the total would drop below the two-thirds approval requirement and doubtful that we would see an 8.75 point drop in the certified numbers,” McDonald said. “For reference, with Measure R, the affirmative votes went up by 3.68 points from the election night final to the certified final count.”