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Belvedere scraps plans for second fire tax after cold survey results


Belvedere is shelving plans for a ballot initiative that would have sought up to $1 million a year in new fire taxes — effectively doubling revenue toward the growing costs of firefighting, prevention and paramedic services — after a survey showed residents wouldn’t support even the smallest option.


The contract with the Tiburon Fire Protection District is now $2.15 million for fiscal 2023-2024, far outpacing revenue from the city's existing tax, first approved in 1980. With annual increases tied to inflation — and a one-time voter-approved bump in 2000 — the tax is now $993 per parcel and raises about $1 million a year.


In June, the City Council hired a consulting firm to conduct a baseline study by mail, email, text and phone. It sought to gauge whether residents would be receptive to a second parcel tax of up to $980 for fire services. Combined with the original 1980 fire tax, the total would be as high as $1,973 per parcel, before annual increases.


Some 261 residents completed the survey, which ran from June 23 to July 20 and had a 5.5% margin of error. Consultant Charles Heath made respondents’ feelings clear to the Finance Committee.


“I haven’t seen survey results this negative in any other community in California this year,” he said.


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