Letters to the Editor Aug. 31, 2011

Del Norte Triplicate Readers

Klamath Fire didn't get funding becauase it asked for too much

Klamath Fire Protection District did not get the tax increase it requested for several reasons, but they can all be summarized by too much, too little and too few.

The "too much" is they asked for way too much in one increase. To increase taxes by 150 percent in such hard economic times is just asking too much. If the district had asked for less, it might have passed.

The "too little" is they gave too little information on why they

needed so much more. If they had produced a list of costs for equipment

maintenance, training, operational expenses and reserve needs, they

might have been able to justify the request. But they did not. Property

owners were asked to vote without any facts or figures on how the money

would be spent. The vague answers of "training costs" and "equipment

maintenance" were never detailed or even given a total dollar amount.

And the "too few" is they are taxing too few people to pay for too

many who don't pay the fire tax. Only property owners who pay Del Norte

County property tax would have to shoulder the tax hike. All tribal

property not on the tax rolls is exempt, including the Pem-Mey gas

station and the Yurok Tribal Administration Building. So 380 people

would pay to support the Fire Department for everyone in Klamath.

Lt. Witvoet lamented that it was a real bummer that the two largest

stakeholders, with 110 votes, should have so much power over the

outcome. But what she didn't comment on were the other 168 votes that

disagreed with the tax increase also.

While I agree that the Fire Department needs an increase to keep

current, I cannot in good conscience vote to burden so few taxpayers for

so much money with so little information. The Fire Department has told

us that the new casino will be paying a fairly large amount sometime in

the near future. If that is true, then that should cover the increase

they were asking for without over-burdening those who are already


Lorna Livingtree


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