PENN VALLEY, Calif. June 6, 2020 – Penn Valley parcel owners rejected a parcel fee increase that would have allowed the hiring and retention of an additional six firefighter/paramedics. The agency currently operates with four firefighters on duty at any given time, covering the 92 square mile district with one captain, one lieutenant and two firefighters, 50% of the national staffing standard. A 62% increase in call volume is impacting the ability of the agency to meet mandated response times.
“Two and increasingly three calls at a time have become common,” said Bruce Stephenson, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Penn Valley Fire Protection District (PVFPD). “Our Board of Directors voted in August 2019 to move forward with a proposal asking parcel owners for approval of a fee increase to hire additional personnel because we simply haven’t enough staff to respond to this increase in call volume.”
6,521 ballots were mailed to Penn Valley parcel owners at the address on record with the Nevada County Treasurer-Tax Collector. 3,160 ballots were returned by the June 2, 2020 deadline. The League of Women Voters of Western Nevada County conducted a hand count of ballots on Saturday, June 6, 2020. Final results were 1,257 in favor and 1,903 opposed. Ballots were weighted based on the type of property (unimproved, improved, multi-family, commercial, etc.,) which determines the fee assessed and remains consistent with the weighting in past fee assessment elections. Weighted results determined the proposed assessment increase failed, with 38.08% of returned ballots in favor, and 61.92% opposed.
While disappointed in the results, the Protect Penn Valley Committee would like to thank the volunteers and all parcel owners who participated in this process.