Templeton Property owners reject tax increase to pay for full-time fire department

Templeton property owners have rejected a proposal to increase property taxes to pay for a full-time fire department.

Preliminary results, tabulated Tuesday, show that 61 percent of those who voted were not in favor of the additional property tax. The Templeton Community Services District reported a 46 percent voter turnout.

The Templeton Fire Department now relies on 24 volunteer members for emergency response.

District officials say they expect the need for additional fire services sometime in the next three to five years to prevent heightened response times.

The number of calls for emergency services grew to 600 last year, up from 208 calls 11 years ago, Templeton Fire Chief Greg O’Sullivan said.

The services district board approved $30,000 to pay consultant David Taussig & Associates of Newport Beach to determine what type of tax was needed to provide paid full-time fire staff.

Future alternatives include contracting with County/Cal Fire for additional fire services or using reserves to hire additional fire staff.

“We will continue to get out and listen to the community’s needs and desires,” said General Manager Jeff Hodge, adding that monitoring response times and the increase in calls will be vital. “It is obvious that economic times are extremely hard right now and that likely played into the vote.”