South county voters reject fire tax
Voters in Arbuckle and College City on Tuesday rejected a parcel tax that would have helped pay for fire protection services in south Colusa County.
Measure D – as it appeared on the ballot – failed to garner two-thirds majority approval for a $79.19 annual tax. It received 37 percent support from nearly 600 residents to cast a ballot.
Although unofficial, the final tally was 364-214, according to the Colusa County Clerk-Recorder’s Office.
The Arbuckle-College Fire Protection District board ordered the special election in January in a bid to offset rising costs. The tax would have raised $212,000 a year.
“The people have spoken,” said director Clark Ornbaun.
Ornbaun declined to speculate what the board will do to meet the challenge of providing fire protection in the district until the five-member panel had a chance to meet.
He said it was unknown if the board would make another attempt to put a tax before the voters in the future.
“We will have to discuss it,” Ornbaun said.
The fire district covers approximately 20 square miles and is one of the largest in the county, officials said.
The district has struggled with meeting day-to-day operating expenses, but Arbuckle Fire Chief Casey Cox said the department will continue operating as usual until the district can decide what to do about additional funding needs.
“There will be no change in services,” Cox said.
Cox said the district did the right thing by putting the measure before the voters and by asking for a two-thirds majority approval.
“We set the bar high,” he said. “We wanted to take a proactive approach.”
Cox said that while disappointed in the outcome, district officials aren’t taking opposition to the tax personally.
“It was a great experience,” he said. “It brought a lot of people in the fire hall that took an interest in the department.”
Contact Susan Meeker at 458-2121 or email@example.com.