The Copperopolis Fire Protection District is alerting voters to an upcoming all-mail election that will determine whether the revenues collected from a pre-existing tax will continue to fund paramedic and fire services in the area.
Measure B will ensure that the $75 for paramedic and $75 for fire protection charged directly to Copperopolis residents annually since 1997 will continue to fund those services. California law dictates that the fire district must gain permission from voters every four years to spend that tax money.
If Measure B fails, beginning July 1 the tax will still be collected, but approval from the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors will be required for appropriation.
Historically, Copperopolis residents have always voted “yes” on Measure B. However, this year, Copperopolis Fire Protection District Administrative Officer Joel Schwartz has concerns that many voters are not aware of the May 4 special all-mail election due to the impacts of COVID-19.
“We need this money,” said Schwartz. He explained that the funds are critical for maintaining adequate staffing levels to respond to most fire and medical calls in under nine minutes. Without the ability to spend the tax revenues that the district relies on, services could be cut in half, increasing response times by as many as 30 minutes.
Schwartz said these quick response times are especially critical as the population is aging and the number of medical calls are increasing.
“Of the 650 emergency dispatched calls we have each year in Copperopolis, 84% are for medical. That’s almost two a day,” he said. “When (voters) start getting their ballots in the mail on April 5, they may just ignore them because they have no awareness of the impact a ‘no’ vote on Measure B can have on their safety.”
To spread awareness about Measure B, the Copperopolis Fire Protection District has launched a social media campaign, which can be viewed on their Facebook page.