Five Contra Costa entities came out on Wednesday against a plan proposed by the East County Voters For Equal Protection (ECV) to voluntarily give up their own revenue and give it to the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District.
It now makes at least 13-total entities which have publicly blasted the plan calling it illegal or not realistic.
The letter was signed by five general managers of the following agencies:
- Contra Costa Water District
- East Bay Regional Parks District
- East Contra Costa Irrigation District
- Ironhouse Sanitary District
- Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District
The entities cited the need for a “workable plan” and concerns of the plan being illegal and would not attend a public workshop.
The letter comes on the heels of six local school Districts (Antioch Unified School District, Brentwood Union School District, Knightsen School District, Byron Union School District, Oakley union School District and Liberty Union High School District) who blasted a plan by Hal Bray and Bryan Scott as being illegal and misleading to the public.
The ECV plan asks about 30 agencies to shift a combined $7.8 million of the $154 million of property taxes collected within the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District jurisdiction to the fire district—on a voluntary basis.
Under the plan, the agency recipients of the ad valorem property tax to voluntarily shift a small portion (5.2 percent) of their property tax allocation percentage to the fire district. District taxpayers would not be asked to pay any additional taxes.
According to Chad Davisson, Ironhouse Sanitary District General Manager, he says the letter is in no way suggesting that they are not committed to or supportive of a workable, sustainable plan to address the funding and cost of service issues with ECCFPD.
“However, on behalf of the District, I was very concerned about the concept of voluntarily giving public funds away which could possibly result in the need to raise sewer fees in the future. As a sanitary district, our agency’s obligation is to our sewer rate payers. It is a very sensitive issue, and ISD is very much interested in a reasonable solution,” said Davisson.
Both the city managers of Brentwood and Oakley have also opposed the plan by ECV.
Here is a copy of the letter:
February 22, 2017
Harold Bray and Bryan Scott
(Address removed for privacy)
Brentwood, CA 94513
Sent via email
Re: East County Voters for Equal Protection Reallocation Workshop on February 23, 2017
Dear Mr. Bray and Mr. Scott,
Thank you for the invitation to attend the workshop scheduled for February 23, 2017 to evaluate your proposed solution for funding the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District (ECCFPD).
This is an important issue for all of the special districts in the area. We are concerned about adequate fire and emergency response given the number of staff that work and live in the ECCFPD area as well as for the protection of assets each of our organizations has in East County.
The proposed property tax reallocation, as we understand it, would involve voluntary
participation on the part of a large number and wide variety of governmental organizations such as ours. However, it appears that your concept cannot be seriously discussed without school district and city participation since they represent the largest recipients of property tax revenues considered for reallocation. We are aware that the school districts have expressed concerns that this approach could be illegal and they have voiced their opposition to the proposal (see attached school district letter). Given that this causes great uncertainty around the viability of your approach, we are not in a position to engage in a meaningful dialog on the concept at this juncture and do not plan to attend the workshop.
We agree that an equitable, sustainable funding solution needs to be developed and we would be willing to participate in solution-oriented discussions, including structural changes to the delivery and costs of these services. However, there would need to be a workable concept on the table and our participation would most likely center on the potential redirected impacts on our ratepayers, taxpayers, and/or those paying special assessments.
Thank you for including us in these important discussions.
Jerry Brown, Contra Costa Water District
Bob Doyle, East Bay Regional Parks District
Patricia A. Corey, East Contra Costa Irrigation District
Chad Davisson, Ironhouse Sanitary District
L. Jeff Butzlaff, Bethel Island Municipal Improvement District