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La Mesa City Leaders Blast County’s Fire Parcel Tax

Audio

Aired 4/19/09

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on a historic plan that would levy a parcel tax on county landowners to create a regional fire protection agency. But city leaders in La Mesa call the plan unfair. KPBS Reporter Ana Tintocalis has more. 

Each landowner in the county would pay a $52-annual parcel tax. Half of the 50 million dollars generated would pay for the regional fire agency. The other half would go toward existing fire services. 

But La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid doesn't like the proposal. He sums it up in three words.    

Madrid: This is taxation without representation.    

Madrid believes there are not enough fire chiefs and city leaders on the panel which would watch over tax plan. He worries small cities like La Mesa will get ripped off. 

Madrid: All incorporated cities will continue to subsidize the county with monies and resources. And the benefactors will be exclusively the City of San Diego and the County of San Diego at the expense of virtually everybody else.      

And La Mesa City councilman Dave Allen agrees, saying the county has a track record of misusing public safety funding.    

Allan: And we need to put the reigns back right now, and really see which direction we should go, not rush. 

County supervisors are under the gun to approve the plan because it has to go before the voters in November. Supervisor Diane Jacob is expected to propose an alternative. She wants a larger panel overseeing the agency with more city leaders and fire chiefs.  

Ana Tintocalis, KPBS News.    

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