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San Diego Officials Looking for Ways to Raise Millions for Fire Protection


Aired 4/19/09

San Diego County and City officials are considering different ways to raise millions of dollars to bring the region's fire protection up to scratch. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

One of the most sobering comparisons is between what San Diego County spends on fire protection : $8.5 million and what LA. County spends : $900 million. 

UCSD professor Steve Erie, a member of the San Diego Regional Fire Safety Forum, says L.A. voters agreed in 1997 to pay for fire protection with a special property tax assessment. 

Erie: Basically its $50 a household, you know, it's like a fire insurance policy and it generates  nearly a billion dollars a year.

The city of San Diego spends $180 million a year on fire rescue, but estimates it needs $25 million more for annual operating costs. The independent budget analyst says a special property tax of $55 dollars a year for single family residences could raise that. A joint city county fire task force plans to release a report on funding fire protection, but not till after the June election.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

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