LAFCo received a proposal submitted by registered voter petition to form the Salmon Creek Fire Protection District.
Humboldt LAFCo approved the proposal at the July 20th, 2022 Regular Commission Meeting. A public protest was held on September 10, 2022 in order to receive any written protests from affected landowners and registered voters within the approved Salmon Creek Fire Protection District formation area. No written protests were received by the close of the meeting.
At the September 21, 2022 Regular Commission Meeting, the Commission adopted Resolution No. 22-12 confirming the formation of the FPD and requesting that the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors call an election for the special tax to support the new district. The Board of Supervisors called for the election at the October 25, 2022 regular meeting.
Proposed District Boundary
The proposed district boundary encompasses approximately 20,500 acres (335 parcels) within the Salmon Creek watershed west of the Eel River and the community of Miranda.
Online Interactive Map (shown above; shows the proposed district boundary in relation to other nearby districts)
Humboldt Fire Services Web Map (shows all fire and emergency response agencies in Humboldt County)
A registered voter petition was circulated for signatures in support of forming a fire protection district in the Salmon Creek area. Chief petitioners include Dan Gribi, Fire Chief of the Salmon Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Peter Childs, and Linda Vandyke. In order to be considered for formation, at least 25% of registered voters within the proposed formation area (approximately 31 voters) must sign the petition. A total of 78 valid signatures were collected (approximately 35 percent) as verified by the Registrar of Voters of Humboldt County.
Reasons for Application
According to the application received by LAFCO, the reasons for the current proposal are as follows:
- To support the ongoing operations of the SCVFD, which has served the area since 1978, by establishing a new special tax as a long-term, community-based and locally controlled revenue source to support the sustainable delivery of fire and rescue services by the SCVFD.
- As a district, make the community eligible to apply for grant funding and access tax revenue that is available only to local government entities.
- Establish a three-member Board of Directors to govern the Fire Protection District
Proposed Special Tax
The continued operation of the proposed Salmon Creek Fire Protection District is to be funded through a voter-approved special tax that would generate approximately $25,000 per year and would be apportioned to property in the following manner: a maximum rate of $75 per parcel per year commencing in fiscal year 2023-24. The special tax would be levied annually for an indefinite term (no sunset) and would be collected as part of the annual property tax bill and deposited in a fund for the sole use of the district (nominal processing and administration fees may be charged by the County). The special tax would include the following additional provisions:
- Inflationary Adjustment. In each subsequent year and as part of a duly noticed public hearing, the District Board may choose to adopt an inflation adjustment factor to increase the maximum special tax rate by an amount equal to the annual change, if any, in the Consumer Price Index of the San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose area, up to a maximum increase of five percent. An inflationary adjustment may be applied annually to account for normal cost of living increases in providing fire services. This factor is the maximum that the special tax could be raised in a fiscal year. The District Board can adopt a lower adjustment factor or forgo the adjustment at the Board’s discretion.
- Contiguous Parcel Exemption. The special tax would include an exemption to allow Assessors Parcels which are contiguous, undeveloped, held under identical ownership and used solely for timber production or agricultural grazing, upon approval of an application of the owners thereof to the District Board, to be treated as a single parcel for purposes of this special tax.
- Hardship Exemption. The special tax would include an exemption to allow landowners who fall within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Guidelines for “very low”; or “poverty level” income, to apply to the Salmon Creek FPD Board for a partial or complete exemption from the tax
Property Tax Exchange
The proposed Salmon Creek Fire Protection District proposes to enter into a property tax exchange agreement with the County of Humboldt, pursuant to an action by the Board of Supervisors on May 9, 2019, which identified different tax exchange agreements that may be offered depending on which of a set of expectations fire districts were willing and able to meet. The proposed Salmon Creek Fire Protection District would be eligible for tax exchange agreement Offer #5, whereby the County would share only a portion of future growth in property tax revenue within the district formation area (no base exchange).
Terms and Conditions
The petition included the following requested terms and conditions:
- Voter Approval – The approval of the formation of the district would be subject to a two-thirds vote in favor of a special tax by the registered voters voting upon the measure within the proposed district boundaries.