ConFire Chief Daryl Louder will walk through a wall of fire to rescue women, children and kittens.
But is he brave enough to speak at a breakfast of the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association, whose members have been asking tough questions about his agency’s drive to put a parcel tax measure on the November ballot?
Yep. I saw it for myself. And you can watch it, too. Contra Costa Taxpayers Association Executive Director Kris Hunt is acting as the moderator.
What comes through loud and clear in the chief’s presentation is that he views his role as that of an expert on fire protection. And he is giving the district’s elected officials and its residents his best professional advice about how to protect the community from loss of life and property due to fire.
The reasons behind district’s financial woes are numerous, pre-date his arrival two years ago and largely outside his control but what he does know, he told the taxpayers, is that without more money, he will have to shut down seven to 10 out 28 fire stations.
“I cannot protect the community with 10 fewer fire stations,” Louder said.
The county board of supervisors is looking at placing on the November ballot a fire safety tax. The details are still being worked out but supervisors directed staff to look at a $75 annual parcel tax. It would expire in seven years. Seniors age 65 and older would be exempt. The money would be used to keep open the district’s 28 fire stations but not much else.
The board has set a public hearing to vote on the tax measure for July 31, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. in the supervisors’ chambers at 651 Pine St. in Martinez.