Persons registered to vote within the boundaries of four Southern Humboldt volunteer fire departments will soon have their chance to vote yes or no on the formation of four new fire protection districts.
Because formation of the new districts includes assessment of special parcel taxes to fund their operations, it will take a two-thirds majority of those voting in each district to pass the measure.
In addition to saying yes or no to district formation and the tax, voters will be able to elect a five-member board in each new district.
The Briceland, Bridgeville, Fruitland Ridge, and Palo Verde VFDs have been working with Humboldt County planners Cybelle Immitt and John Miller for several years to become FPDs, which will enable them to assess taxes and receive other benefits reserved for government entities.
Boundaries of the proposed FPDs are identical to the current VFD boundaries.
The Briceland FPD proposal includes an $85 tax per parcel. Candidates for the board are: Gerald Myers, Leib Ostrow, Jerry Sevier, Jim Courtois, and Peter Ryce.
The Bridgeville FPD is asking $10 for unimproved parcels, $75 for improved parcels containing single-family residences, and $100 for parcels containing commercial structures or mobile home parks. Candidates for the board are: Brian Phillips, David Vegliano, Benny Fleek, Susan Pond, Kathleen Saler, Joyce Church, and Wanda Ackley.
The Fruitland Ridge FPD is asking for a $60 tax per parcel. There are only four candidates for the five available seats: John Crivello, Debra Lake, Heather Lake, and Linda Gaffin.
The Palo Verde FPD is asking for a $75 tax on each unimproved parcel and $150 on each improved parcels. There are no candidates for the five available seats.
The ballot measures give the FPDs’ directors the authority to raise the parcel tax each year following a public hearing to an amount to or less than the cost of living determined by the Consumer Price Index, but not to exceed 5 percent.
Additionally, each FPD will be required to make exemptions for financial hardship if the landowners are considered “very low income” or “poverty level” according to state guidelines.
Exemptions may also be made for contiguous, undeveloped parcels under the same ownership, depending on parameters developed by each district.
Anyone else who wishes to run as a qualified write-in candidate must register at the elections office. While it is too late for their names to appear on the ballot, votes cast by writing their names in will be counted.
The Humboldt County elections office will mail voter information booklets and mail-in ballots to all registered voters in the four districts within the next couple of weeks. State election law requires that the ballots be mailed no sooner than July 30 and no later than Aug. 21.
Ballots must be received by the elections office in Eureka no later than 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 28.
This means that if the ballots are not mailed in time to be received by Aug. 28, voters must bring their ballots to the elections office by 8 p.m. that evening in order to be counted. Because this is a special election, there are no local polling places in SoHum.
The elections office, located at 3033 H Street near Harris in Eureka, is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on weekdays and will stay open until 8 p.m. on Election Day, Aug. 28.
Only the voter, members of his/her immediate family, or adults residing at the same address may submit ballots in person.
The voter information booklet will contain a special envelope and complete instructions for returning ballots.
For more information, call the Humboldt County elections office at 445-7678 or email the elections manager, Kelly Sanders, at firstname.lastname@example.org.