FORESTHILL (CBS13) — A new effort is underway to reopen a recently closed fire station in Foresthill.
The station shut down after voters didn’t approve a tax that would have helped fund it. With less fire protection in the area, insurance companies are canceling fire coverage.
Now, some community members are trying to pass a tax once again, in hopes of reversing the impacts this station’s closure has caused.
“I don’t think they thought it was going to be this big of a deal,” said Foresthill homeowner Jodi Yorston.
It’s an unintended consequence of a fire station shut down in Foresthill.
“People are being dropped, people are being canceled, rates are being elevated at just an incredibly rapid rate,” said Foresthill Fire Chief Kirk Kushen.
Fire insurance was almost out of reach for Yorston.
“I wanted to cry because we almost didn’t get our home!”
Moving across town closer to the now-closed Fire Station 88, Yorston now lives 4 miles away from the closest fire service.
“We went from a Protection Class 3 to Protection Class 10.”
Her annual insurance premium shot up 900 percent from $800 a year to $8,000.
Last July, a special parcel tax to fund fire service only pulled in 61 percent of the vote, just shy of the two-thirds it needed to pass. A lack of funding meant lights out in January at one of only two Foresthill fire stations.
“The effect of the fire station closure is real, it’s affecting people,” said John Michelini, Chairman of Citizens for Adequate Public Safety.
Michelini is helping to lead a new effort dubbed Measure F. It’s another parcel tax to fund fire services that would cost homeowners an extra $240 dollars a year, bringing in about $800,000 annually.
“No one takes light of taxes, I don’t want to pay more taxes,” said Michelini.
As fires rage all around them, Michelini says he hopes Foresthill voters- who already live in a high fire risk area- will have a change of heart this time around.
“$240 is a lot of money but the alternative is a much larger expense.”
Yorston says she understands any apprehension about having to constantly shell out more money to new taxes, and while she wasn’t registered to vote for the tax proposal in 2017, she says in order to protect her home and her community, she will be in full support of Measure F.
“I’m going to vote yes for sure.”
If passed, Measure F would also help increase staffing levels, retain employees and replace aging fire equipment.
Ballots will be mailed out to voters Aug. 20.