Oakley Vice Mayor Doug Hardcastle shared his concerns and disappointment during the Oakley City Council meeting Tuesday night about how the East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Board chose not to move forward with a $98 June parcel tax in a 4-yes to 5-no vote.
Here are Hardcastle’s comments from Tuesdays meeting.
“I was rather disappointed that they voted to put off the parcel tax until November thinking it would have more of a chance of passing. But by waiting until November, they are going to have at least one station closing and maybe more. I was really disappointed.
At that point, if they had put it on the June Ballot, it would have been $89 per parcel, I don’t want to pay more taxes, but I do want my family to be safe, I want my property to be safe and by them putting it off until November, there is going to be reduced response time and reduced coverage.
I don’t know if the people who are representing us from Oakley are to answer to us at a City Council level but anything like that comes up before a vote is taken, I would like to have their input from us and then for us to give them our input how we see it because by putting it off until November, it’s going to be a minimum of $135. I don’t know how by putting if off for 4-months more people are going to be apt to spend more money than less money.
Before there was a threat of closing the fire stations until they got the funding from the federal government to re-open the stations. They proved the stations are going to close, it wasn’t a threat, it was an actual reality and by then putting it on November for property taxes, it’s going to be more money and stations are going to close. So like I said, I am just highly disappointed in the actions they took,” said Hardcastle.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery cut off Doug Hardcastle explaining how at the next meeting, the Fire Chief and the three appointed Board Members (Ronald Johansen, Kevin Bouillon, Jonathan Michaelson) will be in attendance to discuss the fire district. Montgomery also shared the two-voted against it and 1-for it.
“When I was listening to all the facts I didn’t speak up until public section because I thought it was common approach to put it on the June Ballot. Why close stations if you don’t have to and leave it to the people to decide whether to give the $98 per parcel tax. I mean my family is very important; I can throw out $98 a year for my family to be safe, my property to be safe. I think the people have to know it wasn’t a threat and it’s a real possibility. I mean you only have so much money and you have to run the stations. Like I said I am extremely disappointed in the actions that they took,” said Hardcastle.
Hardcastle has joined Mayor Randy Pope and Councilwoman Diane Burgis in questioning the ECCFPD and seeking more communication since Oakley appointed them to represent the City. In the year since being appointed, none of the Board Members appointed have been back to the City Council to share ECCFPD information or provide an update. Councilmembers Kevin Romick and Carol Rios have remained silent on ECCFPD activities.