The Board of Directors of the Santa Lucia Community Services District is currently considering a plan to expand fire and emergency medical services at The Preserve.
The Monterey County Regional Fire District provides these vital services to The Preserve and other unincorporated communities throughout the region via a network of seven fire stations.
One of these stations is located at The Preserve, and the Fire District staffs that station with a paid firefighter/EMT (or a firefighter/paramedic) seven days per week during an eight-hour shift each day. The primary function of this professional first responder is to quickly respond to emergencies, to both assess the situation and to begin preventative response measures until other Fire District personnel and mutual aid companies can arrive from off property.
Historically, The Preserve has supplemented the Fire District’s response capacity using a “fire brigade” consisting of Preserve security and volunteers. The fire brigade has historically responded to emergencies using a blend of Preserve-owned equipment and the Fire District equipment housed at the fire station. During periods when the fire station is unstaffed, the brigade do their best to respond to emergencies until professional firefighters and emergency medical responders arrive from elsewhere in the region.
Rates and availability of homeowners insurance is largely governed by a system of ISO fire protection ratings assigned on a scale of one to ten. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO’s minimum criteria. Currently, The Santa Lucia Preserve has an excellent ISO rating of three (3). Approval of this proposal should help us maintain this excellent rating, or possibly improve to a better rating.
Proposed Expanded Services
The Fire District has offered to provide 24/7 staffing of our station, so that the level of professional staffing during “off-hours” will be essentially the same or better than it is now during the daytime.
However, the Fire District does not receive sufficient property tax from The Preserve community to fund this expanded level of service. The Santa Lucia Community Service District is currently funded exclusively through property-related fees that are earmarked for specific services by law and cannot be used for general government services such as firefighting and emergency medical response.
Proposed Fire/EMS Financing District
In order to fund increased staffing, the Board of Directors of the Santa Lucia Community Services District has proposed creating a Fire/EMS Financing District. That District, created under the Mello-Roos Community Facilities Act of 1982 and governed by the CSD Board, would levy an annual property tax within the CSD’s boundaries. Proceeds of this tax would be legally restricted to use for providing Fire/EMS services.
The proposed maximum rate of the tax would be as follows:
Beginning with Fiscal Year 2024-25, each Maximum Special Tax rate for the fiscal year would be increased by a maximum of 4% with respect to the Maximum Special Tax rate for the prior fiscal year.
These rates are anticipated to be sufficient to fund the enhanced services during an initial 5-Year agreement with the Fire District. The first year start date will be determined following the August 29, 2023, election results. If the initiative passes, MCRFPD will hire the necessary staff to expand this service. If the service is provided for a portion of the 2023/24 fiscal year, the fees will be prorated accordingly. No bonds will be issued in connection with this plan, as each year’s taxes are intended to pay for that year’s enhanced services.
Process and Community Involvement
At its April 17, 2023, meeting, the CSD’s Board of Directors adopted a “Resolution of Intention” proposing the establishment of the Fire/EMS Financing District and the special tax and scheduled a public hearing regarding the proposal.
May 23, 2023, at 9:00 a.m.
in the Event Barn
85 Rancho San Carlos Road, Carmel, California
You are invited to attend the hearing and speak on this issue. You can also submit a written comment at the hearing or by delivery to our offices any time prior to the hearing.
Any property owner or registered voter in the CSD can submit a written protest against the proposal.
If 50 percent or more of the registered voters residing within the territory proposed to be included in the Fire/EMS Financing District, or the owners of one-half or more of the area of the land in the territory proposed to be included in the Fire/EMS Financing District and not exempt from the special tax, file written protests against the establishment of the Fire/EMS Financing District, and protests are not withdrawn so as to reduce the value of the protests to less than a majority, the Board will abandon the proposal.
Absent such a majority protest, the CSD Board would be anticipated to adopt a resolution placing the tax on the ballot at an August 29, 2023, mail ballot election to be conducted by the Monterey County Registrar of Voters. The voters at this election would be all persons registered to vote at an address within the CSD. In order for the tax to be approved, two-thirds of the votes cast on the measure would need to be “yes” votes.
You may notice that this procedure and this type of election are different from the procedures used for the CSD’s property-related fees. Specifically, this would be a vote of registered voters rather than of landowners. Under state law, a landowner vote cannot approve this sort of tax in a territory with more than 12 registered voters.Q & AResolution 23-03Resolution 23-04