Referendum 2012
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Referendum 2012. Golden Gate Fire Control & Rescue District. Minutes Matter!. Timely response is essential for effective outcomes in emergencies. Extended response times adversely impact these outcomes.

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Referendum 2012

Referendum 2012

Golden Gate Fire Control & Rescue District

Minutes matter
Minutes Matter!

Timely response is essential for effective outcomes in emergencies.

Extended response times adversely impact these outcomes.

Fire District again faces funding crisis that will impact our ability to maintain existing level of service.

Please don t jump to conclusions
Please Don’t Jump To Conclusions************************************

Not a Tax Increase - Not a New Tax

  • We seek a change to the millage cap to allow continuation of stable, consistent funding.

  • You should pay no more out of pocket than what you have already been paying for emergency response.

Ad valorem 101
Ad Valorem 101

  • Tax you pay is based on two elements: property value and millage rate.

  • Millage rate is only a multiplier. 1 mill = 1/1,000.

  • Tax Paid = Ad valorem value x millage rate.

  • To maintain a consistent revenue stream, millage must be adjusted as property value changes.

Ad valorem 101 cont
Ad Valorem 101 (cont.)

  • Declining property values must result in higher millage rates to maintain existing funding levels.

  • The Fee you pay for emergency response should be based on the cost of the service and not on the value of your property.

So what happened
So What Happened!??

The referendum in 2009 increased our millage cap from 1.0 to 1.5 mills, but since then we have experienced:

Continuing decline of property values;

Continually rising operating costs;

Weak economy that is relentlessly impacting our residents.

Fire district budget
Fire District Budget

Between FY2009 and FY 2011, the District’s budget dropped by $1,525,000 and shift staffing was reduced by almost 25%.

Impact managed via reductions in personnel, savings in controllable operating costs, deferment of principal debt payments, and other measures.

Fire district budget cutting
Fire District Budget Cutting

Cost-cutting measures include:

Eleven positions eliminated (16% of workforce) with payroll-related savings of $1,345,000;

Employee benefits reduction, saving $33,000 immediately, with greater savings projected;

Refinanced debt loads to improve cash flow, recovering approx. $380,000 annually;

Changed various operating practices.

Operational changes
Operational Changes

Important operating changes included:

  • Removed two units from daily service due to staffing reductions.

  • Extended vehicle usage well beyond 100,000 miles.

  • Negotiated two successive three-year labor contracts with no raises or increases.

  • Instituted hiring freeze, overtime freeze, and part-time firefighter program.

Fire district projected budget for fy2012 2013
Fire District Projected Budget for FY2012-2013

We project ad valorem value decline of an additional 9% with associated revenue decline.

There will be other adverse budget impacts from non-renewing savings of previous years.

Projected budget shortfall is estimated to be approximately $900,000.

Impacts to fire district
Impacts to Fire District

Budget shortfall of $900,000 will result in 15

more emergency response positions lost,


Two more response units shut down, daily;

Two fire stations closed;

Dramatic impact on response times;

Likely impact to insurance premiums.

Insurance premium impacts
Insurance Premium Impacts

  • ISO split rating of 5/9 – dependent upon hydrants and nearby fire stations.

  • Closure of nearby fire station will move houses with a current ISO rating of 5 to 9.

  • Calculation on premium impact made by insurance professionals estimate a 40% increase to fire-related insurance rates.

  • Closure of fire station in non-hydrant areas will move ISO rating from 9 to 10, which is the highest insurable risk rating.

Focus group input
Focus Group Input

Focus group meetings were conducted with area residents to get their input on this problem. The majority did not want to see service reductions.

A temporary funding change was recommended, increasing the maximum millage tax rate (cap), and mandating a sunset provision.

Revenue options
Revenue Options

The only available revenue option that may be implemented in time to prevent service reduction is an increase of the ad valorem millage cap. It must be approved in January’s primary to avoid forced service reduction.


Increase the maximum millage rate (cap) from 1.5 mills to 2.75 mills, and sunset this temporary cap after five years.

Ballot language
Ballot Language


To prevent further reduction of life safety and property protection, shall the Golden Gate Fire Control and Rescue District be authorized to increase the ad valorem millage maximum rate that it may levy from the 1.5 mills approved by referendum in 2009, up to 2.75 mills, for five fiscal years beginning with the 2012-2013 year and to levy such millage rate above statutorily mandated rollback rates, in order to meet the District’s operating costs?



It s your choice
It’s Your Choice

  • These are extremely difficult times for our residents. The District is sensitive to that.

  • We work for you – you get to decide the level of fire protection and emergency response in the Golden Gate area.

  • Understand the choices and the potential consequences.

  • Contact: Fire Chief Bob Metzger

    (239)253-2134 cell