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Montecito Voters Overwhelmingly Favor Fire District Funding Measure

Measure M2010 will help the district maintain service levels by overriding Proposition 4's spending limits

Voters in the Montecito Fire Protection District on Tuesday overwhelmingly passed Measure M2010, to override spending limits imposed by Proposition 4 that would have reduced the district’s budget by as much as 58 percent.

Paramedic services, public education and information programs, and brush removal for wildfire prevention were among the services for which funding was threatened.

“I am very pleased with the election results,” Fire Chief Kevin Wallace said in a statement. “Without passage of this measure, service levels to our constituents would have had to have dropped dramatically.”

The special election is held in July every four years to align with the district’s fiscal year. Additional elections would be required to fund the same amount of time, costing the district more, if it were held during the general election, according to district spokeswoman Geri Ventura.

About 34 percent of the 5,885 registered voters participated in Tuesday’s election, with the measure receiving 1,868 yes votes and 141 no votes — for nearly 93 percent approval.

The measure passed with more than 95 percent of the vote the past three elections, according to Santa Barbara County’s election Web site.

“We never make the assumption that it is going to pass,” Ventura said. “We are really thrilled with the outcome of these elections.”

The district is funded through property taxes and receives 0.17 percent of assessed property values annually. Ventura said it collected $12.4 million in taxes for the 2008-09 fiscal year.

Noozhawk intern Daniel Langhorne will be a junior at Chapman University in the fall. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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