Before discussing whom they might aid this year, the Pine Cove Property Owners Association discussed several issues, such as road and highway work, water and ambulance service, which affect the entire Pine Cove community.

During the discussion of the ambulance service contract, County Service Area 38 Advisory Committee Chair Jerry Holldber solicited comments on the community’s sentiment for continuing, lowering or eliminating the current parcel fee charge for the ambulance contract.

Holldber was describing the county’s plans to provide ambulance service to the Pine Cove community beginning July 1. A new ambulance service contract with American Medical Response will begin then, replacing the contract with the Idyllwild Fire Protection District. Consequently, CSA 38 will no longer have to make a separate payment for the contract. Just as any other unincorporated area of Riverside County, which is served by AMR through the master county ambulance contract, Pine Cove will no longer have to make a community payment.

The parcel fee is the largest source of funds for CSA 38 to pay for the contract. Annamarie Padula asked if “anyone would be against lowering the parcel fee? There is still a lot we can do even if the fee is reduced.”

In 2004, 76 percent of Pine Cove residents approved a $50 per-parcel fee with a 2-percent annual increase. The current rate is $59. Last year, CSA 38 received about $92,000 from this source, which is less than the annual contract cost.

No one advocated for eliminating the fee. But even with a lowered fee, several thought the funds could continue to benefit the community’s medical service.

“It was not imposed upon us; we went out and voted for it,” commented Nancy Borchers.

“Ambulance service is as big an issue as water here. If $25 doesn’t go to Starbucks, but covers what we need, it’s not much,” said Diane Burt. “But we don’t want to pay more tax than is being used.”

The parcel fee’s future will be on the agenda of the CSA 38 meeting at 2 p.m. Wednesday, May 13, at the Pine Cove Water District conference room.