Coastal Voices: Klamath fire district slipped up

Submitted

The Sept. 15 letter to the editor, "Shame on those who opposed fire assessment increase" by Al Muelhoffer, was, in my opinion, misguided and narrow-minded.

I too believe the Klamath Fire Protection District is woefully underfunded and personally voted my two parcels in support of the proposed increase. I also believe that its handling process and communication efforts (before and since the proposed benefit assessment increase vote) has been both confusing and lacking in future budgetary specificity.

The Klamath Fire Protection District states it hasn't asked for a benefit assessment increase for the past 21 years. Okay, but let's be honest. Whose responsibility was that? Correct, the Klamath Fire Protection District was and is responsible.

No service organization would wait 21 years to seek additional

funding while the costs for everything have steadily increased over the

years. Additionally such a service organization, attempting to make up

for past inactions with a 150 percent increase all at once, should not

be shocked when there is push-back from those who will be financially

impacted the most by a mere number of parcels or a limited fixed income.

I find it unconscionable for a current member of the Klamath

Voluntary Fire Department and another past board member of the Fire

Protection District to so easily and publicly identify a couple of the

multiple property owners (specifically by name and through inference)

and then to label them as "shameful." I think this approach is shameful,

self defeating, a violation of community confidence and reprehensible

overall.

Property owners with multiple parcels have always been major

stakeholders in providing a lion's share of the funding that the Klamath

Fire Protection District receives though the benefit assessment.

Property owners with multiple parcels also support this community

through property tax revenues, employment opportunities, housing,

services, local contributions and assessment fees.

The fact is, the Klamath Fire Protection District priced itself out

of an increase, insulted those who currently do financially support it

and irresponsibly divided a community through skewed facts and cheap

innuendo.

Too much of this type of behavior is running rampant through

Washington, D.C., and it doesn't work there either.

I believe the Klamath Fire Protection District's time would have been

better served actually listening to Klamath residents and businesses

and to those concerns they voiced long before the vote was taken.

The final tally for the proposed Klamath Fire Protection District's

benefit assessment increase was 171 "yes" votes and 278 "no" votes. The

proposal didn't fail because of the 108 votes cast by multiple parcel

owners being inferred by some. It failed because of the 278 "no" votes

cast by both multiple and single property parcel owners andhellip; as was their

right to do so. It is sour grapes to think otherwise.

I have no doubt that the Klamath Fire Protection District will

attempt this again and it must.

I trust it will conduct itself personally and administratively more

professional than it has this time around.

Paul Crandall is a Klamath property owner.

14006937
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