Idyllwild Fire Protection District is attempting to raise the taxes of Idyllwild residents in the form of a “parcel fee.” When this is proposed to the residents of Idyllwild, voters will need all the facts.
I want you to remember what IFPD did to your neighbors in Pine Cove when the residents of Pine Cove wanted to improve ambulance service. In 2003, Pine Cove relied on IFPD for its ambulance service, which was “as soon as they could get there.”
Citizens of Pine Cove wanted what Idyllwild residents paid for: 13-minute response. The money to pay for this was to start at $60,000 and increase each year up to $90,000, which somehow became $129,000.
IFPD told Pine Cove that it had three ambulances and would be able to respond within 13 minutes with a driver and paramedic on board. Pine Cove thought this was a good thing and voted to tax themselves.
IFPD did not disclose that only one crew would be on duty and that it could have had 50 ambulances but only one would be usable.
During the 10 years this contract was in place, IFPD would show up at a call with only a driver, later than the contract required, and sometimes with a paramedic who could not start an IV due to lack of training and practice.
Then, IFPD commissioners voted to charge residents of Pine Cove an extra $300 a run because Pine Cove was “out of area.”
After 10 years of begging IFPD to fulfill its part of the contract, Pine Cove was paying $129,000 a year with an extra $300 per call and IFPD was still not fulfilling its part of the contract. Enough was enough.
Pine Cove is now fully covered by Cal Fire Station 23 and AMR ambulance service, accountable to the state of California and Riverside County, and paid for through our regular property taxes. That extra tax has gone away.
The citizens of Idyllwild need to learn from the past experience of their neighbors: IFPD promised Pine Cove all sorts of things to lure them in and then did not fulfill these promises.
This information is verifiable through CSA 38 (through which the special tax was enacted) and the Pine Cove Property Owners Association. Meeting times of these two organizations are published in the Town Crier.
Nancy Borchers
Pine Cove