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Smart Voter
El Dorado County, CA October 7, 2003 Election
Measure A
Annexation/Reorganization
Rescue Fire Protection District

Advisory Vote Only

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments |

Do you support the proposed annexation/reorganization of the Rescue Fire Protection District into the El Dorado Hills Fire District?

Impartial Analysis from County Counsel
The Rescue Fire Protection District ("Rescue District") is an independent special district, formed under the Fire Protection District Law of 1987, Health and Safety Code 13800 et seq. It is authorized by state law to provide fire protection and emergency medical services.

The El Dorado Hills County Water District ("EDH District") is an independent special district formed under the County Water District Law, Water Code 30000 et seq. It is authorized by state law to provide a variety of services, including fire protection, emergency medical services, sewer and garbage services and others. The EDH District currently provides only fire protection and emergency medical services, but could, in the future, provide additional services after appropriate procedures are followed.

A proposal has been made to annex the Rescue District into the boundaries of the EDH District. The proposal does not specify any particular terms or conditions. Any such annexation would have to be formally submitted to, and approved by the El Dorado County Local Agency Formation Commission ("LAFCO") after a public hearing. The proposal may take a form that would be considered a "reorganization" under LAFCO terminology. LAFCO has the discretion to impose its own terms and conditions on an annexation. Before any specific annexation proposal becomes effective, under LAFCO statutes the annexation would be subject to a written protest procedure and possibly a confirmation vote by registered voters in the Rescue District.

The Board of Directors of the Rescue District has voted to place this advisory measure on the ballot to solicit the opinion of the voters within the Rescue District on the general question of whether the voters support or oppose the proposal to annex the Rescue District into the boundaries of the EDH District. No specific terms or conditions of any possible future annexation have been established at this time. An annexation could have future ramifications on a broad range of issues, such as an increase or decrease in taxes, a change in the type or level of services provided, etc., but since the terms of an eventual annexation are not known at this time, it is impossible to describe the potential future consequences with any specificity.

This ballot measure is advisory only. It merely provides public input to the Board of Directors of the Rescue District. It does not bind the Board of Directors in any position or actions it may take. Nor does it bind LAFCO in any respect with regard to its action on any future application for reorganization that may be filed. A "yes" vote advises the Rescue District Board of Directors that the voters generally support the annexation of the Rescue District into the boundaries of the EDH District. A "no" vote advises the Rescue District Board of Directors that the voters generally oppose the annexation of the Rescue District into the boundaries of the EDH District.

LOUIS B. GREEN COUNTY COUNSEL

 
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Arguments For Measure A Arguments Against Measure A
"The mission of the Rescue Fire Protection District shall be to provide the highest quality of service to the people of this community, for protection of life and property, and to ensure public health and safety."

  • The district encompasses approximately 34 square miles extending from west of Cameron Park to Luneman Road/Arrowbee areas.
  • Currently, there are 2 firefighters on duty 24 hr/day, 7 days/week. With the merger there will be an increase to 3 firefighters on duty 24 hr/day, 7 days/week. AND one of these firefighters will also be a licensed paramedic.
  • The very active volunteer association augments our full-time staff and will continue to do so with the merged districts.
  • The Rescue Volunteer Association can decide whether to remain as is or join with the El Dorado Hills Volunteer Association.
  • The Community of Rescue will maintain its identity.
  • Majority of calls in Rescue are medical calls, so the addition of the paramedic on the fire engine will mean a quicker action to save lives.
  • The proposed merger will allow two well-run, well-equipped Districts to improve through increased staffing.
  • Combining districts will reduce administrative costs.
  • El Dorado Hills will benefit through a merger with a well-run, well-equipped district.
  • No increase in taxes will be needed. The new district cannot increase taxes without 2/3 voter approval.
  • This merger will allow Rescue to advance to a new level of service for public safety.

Vote "Yes" on Measure A and increase the level of emergency services without increasing the amount of taxes.

s/Daniel J. Hinrichs Former RFPD Board Member

s/Dowse Bernell Former RFPD Board Member

s/Jack Fuller Former RFPD Board Member

s/Gary Patten Fire Captain

s/Mark Bartlett Fire Captain

Rebuttal to Arguments For
Don't be mislead by arguments supporting Measure A. THIS IS NOT A "MERGER" OR "COMBINING" OF DISTRICTS! THERE WILL NOT BE A "NEW DISTRICT"! This is an ANNEXATION where the Rescue Fire Protection District will be taken over by El Dorado Hills. ALL CONTROL OVER RESCUE WILL BE IN THE HANDS OF EL DORADO HILLS. The Rescue Fire Protection District WILL CEASE TO EXIST!

RESCUE TAXPAYERS ALREADY PAY FOR A PROFESSIONAL PARAMEDIC /AMBULANCE SERVICE that is dispatched with all medical calls. Three current full-time Rescue firefighters are certified, or close to certification, as Paramedics. Proper compensation and encouragement would give Rescue a Paramedic on each shift WITHOUT ANNEXATION TO EL DORADO HILLS.

RESCUE ALREADY HAS A COMPETENT "WELL RUN, WELL EQUIPPED DISTRICT". Why fix it if it's not broken?

Will there be a loss of trained Rescue volunteers? Rescue pays each volunteer for training and responses; El Dorado Hills does not. How long will the Rescue volunteers continue when they don't identify with El Dorado Hills and they don't receive compensation?

El Dorado Hills is BUYING support for this annexation. They promise to substantially increase the salaries of paid Rescue personnel (two of whom signed the arguments supporting Measure A) and they promise to increase staffing. They promise to give Rescue this gift with no increase in taxes. DO NOT BELIEVE IT! This is an expensive gift that will increase in costs annually. How long do you think taxes will remain low after we lose local control of our taxation to the people of El Dorado Hills?

VOTE NO; PRESERVE YOUR LOCAL CONTROL OVER PROPERTY TAXES!

s/Ken Humphreys

s/Jack Franklin

s/Keith Atwater

s/Keith Hodgkin

s/Les Cooney

Reasons to vote NO to annex the Rescue Fire Protection District into the El Dorado Hills Fire Department are:

NO LOWER RESPONSE TIMES OR INSURANCE RATES.

NO LOCAL CONTROL ON THE FIRE BOARD AND FIRE TAX ISSUES.

NO CARE FOR THE HISTORICAL RESCUE POST OFFICE BUILDING.

NO RESCUE FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT.

NO RESCUE COMMUNITY IDENTITY.

Because all members of the Board of Directors of the El Dorado Hills Fire Department are elected at large and the population of El Dorado Hills is five times the population of Rescue, the probability is that NO RESIDENT OF RESCUE WILL BE ELECTED TO THE BOARD and the probability is that RESIDENTS OF RESCUE WILL NEVER HAVE CONTROL OVER LOCAL FIRE TAXES AT THE POLLS!

The Rose Springs Literary Society (RSLS) hall (Rescue Post Office building) was built in 1896 by the community and is a large part of the history of Rescue. After the Rescue Fire Protection District was formed, about 30 years ago, the property where the fire station, RSLS hall and park is located was donated to the fire district for two reasons: one, to give the fire district land to build a new fire station and secondly, to have the historical RSLS hall under the care of a sound long-term Rescue organization. ANNEXATION TO THE EL DORADO HILLS FIRE DEPARTMENT DOES NOT PROVIDE FOR CARE OF THE HISTORICAL PART OF RESCUE!

The Fire Department, Post Office, RSLS hall and park with historical markers are the heart and soul of Rescue. TO ANNEX THE HEART AND SOUL OF RESCUE INTO THE EL DORADO HILLS FIRE DEPARTMENT WILL HAVE A PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE CONTINUING IDENTITY OF RESCUE ITSELF!

The political reason for the El Dorado Hills Fire Department making this annexation offer is unclear. However, it is clear THE RURAL RESIDENTS OF RESCUE DO NOT NEED TO BE INVOLVED IN EL DORADO HILLS' POLITICS!

VOTE NO; PRESERVE THE RURAL COMMUNITY OF RESCUE!

s/Penny Humphreys
s/Cheryl Yee
s/Bernice (Bunny) Wing
s/Susan (Joy) Carpenter
s/Jeannine K. Wheelers

Rebuttal to Arguments Against
We need to take out the emotional issues and look at the facts:

  • Paramedic response times and public safety will be greatly improved because a firefighter/paramedic will be added to the first responding engine.
  • Department consolidation will significantly improve Rescue's service levels (staff, equipment, and facilities).
  • Administrative, management, and overhead costs will be reduced.
  • There is absolutely no financial impact to the Rescue District residents, no hidden increases in taxes.
  • The identity of the Rescue community is defined by the people and their activities and spirit. Rescue can continue to have its' volunteer fire association, historic building and grounds, community functions, and its' local identity.
  • Fire board members will be elected at large. All residents will have an equal chance (note the last District 4 supervisor and current District 4 Supervisor are residents of Rescue).
  • The Historical Building can continue to be supported and improved by the Rescue Volunteer Fire Association (RVFA).
  • The RVFA not the Fire Department has raised money for building improvements for the RSLS Hall.

This measure should not be decided on emotion, half-truths, and innuendos. The issue should be decided by improved public safety. The proposed merger of Rescue and El Dorado Hills Fire Departments is simply about improving emergency services to the citizens of Rescue and surrounding communities within the RFPD without increasing taxes.

Please support improved public safety for our community by voting YES on Measure A.

s/Kevin Mclinden Rescue Resident

s/Bernell Dowse Former Rescue Fire Board Member

s/Daniel Nelson Rescue Firefighter


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Created: October 28, 2003 12:31 PST
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