The Higgins Fire Department in South County is facing a major budget shortfall and will need to lay off 5 firefighters and close 1 of the 3 stations in the district without additional revenue. According to Chief Jerry Good the cutbacks will double the response time for the 12 thousand residents they serve in the 90 square mile district the department covers. This June voters will be asked to vote on Measure B which will increase revenue to Higgins Fire District through a special tax. In 1980, voters of the District approved an annual special tax in the amount of $25 for each residential structure. Measure B would repeal the existing special tax, and re-enact a new special tax of $125 per year for every residential structure. Chief Good explains what happens if it doesn’t pass.*
Measure B requires a 2-thirds vote to pass, essentially increasing the current property tax of residents in the district by $1 hundred dollars a year. An informational meeting is going to be presented Tuesday May 8th at Bear River High School, explaining how tax revenues have dropped significantly in the the poor economy and how costs to the department have increased, creating the budget shortfall of $450 thousand dollars. The public meeting is at 7pm in the Amphitheater of Bear River High School near Lake of the Pines.