Templeton property owners to vote on fire tax

Faced with fiscal troubles and apparent staff shortages, the Templeton Fire Department is asking property owners in the North County community to vote for a tax to support increasing salary costs.

The Templeton Community Services District has called for an Aug. 27 special election on the proposed tax that, if passed, would result in property owners being assessed $15 a month, or $180 a year. Ballots are expected to go out to voters late this month.

Because of limited property tax funding from San Luis Obispo County, the Templeton fire station is only staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Currently, volunteer firefighters cover night shifts, which results in longer response times.

In addition, Templeton fire personnel are sometimes unable to respond to 911 calls, according to the Templeton CSD.

Officials also claim the Templeton Fire Department may be forced to dissolve if it does not obtain a new source of funding. If that were to occur, Cal Fire would likely take over firefighting and medical response services in Templeton.

CSD officials tout the potential tax revenue as a stable, local source of funding that could not be taken away by the state of California or SLO County.

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