NOTE: Most all city council meetings are video recorded and broadcast via Facebook Live or, as is currently the case, via YouTube Live. The videos of entire meetings are available for viewing on those sites. The content of video clips contained in this post are NOT edited for content but may be truncated for brevity.
The MCVFD fire chief, Robert Jones, whose background is in information technology, not firefighting or city planning, calls our tax rate “artificially low!”
Jones, his family and other members of the MCVFD reside and own property in the unincorporated area of the Fire District, where they receive fire protection service for which they do not pay. Though Jones is a “part-time” fire chief he is paid double what the previous full-time chief was paid! Add to that the annual pay raise he gets that is granted by a vote of the eleven members of the MCVFD but funded by the City of MC. See “FACTS About the MCVFD Contract“)
It would, therefore, be more accurate to say that it is his taxes that are artificially low and the taxpayers of M-C who are overpaying!
In the video above, Jones’ reference to “a tax-rate subsidized by the reserves” is completely untrue of this year’s budget, which I will highlight in the next paragraph, and dismissive of last year’s 3 to 2 vote of the City Council that granted the MCVFD the full 47% increase in funding that he requested by taking a portion of the previous year’s surplus (which automatically goes into a reserve fund) to provide the MCVFD 100% of the amount that they requested. I voted against it, arguing instead to pay for as much of the increase in our budget would allow without using the previous year’s surplus, recommending instead that we add a question in the citizen survey (which would have completed before the City’s distribution to the MCVFD) to allow citizens an opportunity to weigh-in on whether or not they agreed with using a portion of the previous year’s surplus to bridge the gap.
This year’s city budget both lowers the tax rate to a flat $.15 and adds an additional $100,000 towards paying off the city hall debt, which will save taxpayers more than $300,000 over the life of the bond!
However, if those in the unincorporated areas of the fire district were contributing to the funding of the MCVFD then the financial burden on the City would be lessened, saving us funds that could be dedicated to paying off the debt or lowering our tax rate even more!
The MCVFD has also received full funding from the City at the beginning of their fiscal year in January, including 2017, which has included significant increases in funding to the MCVFD year after year (47% increase in 2017, 91% increase in 2016, 101% increase in 2015, and 146% increase in 2014).
View Video where the Fire Chief compares M-C to Royce City, arguing that they spend more on fire protection that we do!