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San Diegans Will Decide Whether to Tax Themselves for More Fire Protection

County Supervisors voted this morning to ask San Diegans this November if they want to tax themselves for more fire protection. The measure would raise money for more fire engines and aerial resources

San Diegans Will Decide Whether to Tax Themselves for More Fire Protection

County Supervisors voted this morning to ask San Diegans this November if they want to tax themselves for more fire protection. KPBS reporter Alison St John has more.

The five County Supervisors voted unanimously to put a parcel tax on the ballot that would  tax every property owner in San Diego $52 a year. Bigger land owners would pay more. The measure would need a two thirds vote to pass.

La Mesa’s Mayor, Art Madrid,  has already come out against the tax.

But Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox supports it. She.says she’s emailed the details of the plan to mayors of all 18 cities in the County and asked them for feedback.

Cox : Those mayors who say  this is coming at an awkward time  - it’s always hard to ask the public for additional tax services, but I think there’s some tremendous opportunities to increase safety protection, but it’s going to cost money

Cox says it’s in the interests of all cities, even those along the coast, to beef up fire fighting equipment to stop blazes in the rural east county before powerful Santa Ana winds blow the flames west. 

A new Joint Powers Authority made up of representatives from five San Diego cities, four Fire Districts and one County Supervisor will control half the $50 million raised by the tax every year  Cities and individual fire districts will be able to spend the other half of the money on fire protection as they chose.

The County Supervisors will not control who is appointed to the Joint Powers Authority, other than their own single representative.

Alison St John, KPBS News.

What questions do you have about the Statewide General Election coming up on Nov. 8? Submit your questions here, and we'll try to answer them in our reporting.