Tuesday, July 17 , 2018, 11:28 pm | Fair 65º


Local News

County to Increase Property Tax Funding for Fire Services

Board of Supervisors votes to allocate a higher percentage of revenue to the department beginning in 2014-15

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a move that would increase the percentage of funding the county’s fire department gets from current property tax rates.

Earlier this year, outside consulting firm Citygate Associates reported that Santa Barbara County pays a lower portion of its property taxes to fire services than other communities.

Under the changes approved Tuesday, County Fire will receive $5.9 million when the tax rate is raised from 12 to 14 percent. The change will take effect in July. Every year after that, the tax rate will be set at 17 percent, plus 25 percent of property tax increments designated for the general fund.

“We are not fixing in any way the financial mess we’re in with this transfer,” said Supervisor Steve Lavagnino, adding that instead the county is providing a reliable source of funding for the fire department. 

But the increase in tax for fire services prompted other county agencies to ask for their share.

In a separate item before the supervisors, Sheriff Bill Brown said the property tax decision would have long-term impacts on law enforcement.

Brown proposed that Proposition 172 dollars, which come from a half-cent sales tax to fund public safety, including fire, be used only for law enforcement going forward.

He recommended that the change begin as soon as the fire department’s shift begins this summer. The county supervisors approved the change, but a year later than Brown asked. 

The board voted to begin the shift in the 2014-15 fiscal year, allowing the fire department to meet its projections from the shift.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through Stripe below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments and a mailing address for checks.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover
One click only, please!

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >