Templeton seeking new tax to fund firefighter pay

July 16, 2019

Faced with fiscal troubles and apparent staff shortages, the Templeton Fire Department is asking property owners in the North County community to vote for a tax to support increasing salary costs. [Cal Coast Times]

The Templeton Community Services District has called for an Aug. 27 special election on the proposed tax that, if passed, would result in property owners being assessed $15 a month, or $180 a year. Ballots are expected to go out to voters late this month.

Because of limited property tax funding from San Luis Obispo County, the Templeton fire station is only staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Currently, volunteer firefighters cover night shifts, which results in longer response times.

In addition, Templeton fire personnel are sometimes unable to respond to 911 calls, according to the Templeton CSD.

Officials also claim the Templeton Fire Department may be forced to dissolve if it does not obtain a new source of funding. If that were to occur, Cal Fire would likely take over firefighting and medical response services in Templeton.

CSD officials tout the potential tax revenue as a stable, local source of funding that could not be taken away by the state of California or SLO County.

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In the end it will be Cal Fire standing. For this county, all of the other unincorporated Fire Departments will be regulated into non-existence. LAFCO may help with that end in mind. Templeton should consider the long term need for new taxes because this extra bump may be a tax grab while it can be justified.

just another crack in the dam. slowly towns are being faced with the consequences of spending more than they can afford. its a theme being repeated more and more frequently.

The argument that a tax increase is necessary to avoid a negative ISO ratting is a red herring. If analyzed the funding requested is not sufficient to provide for a full time full service FD as implied. This is basically a bait and switch scheme. Soon enough the property owners will be approached for more funding to maintain the new upgraded department. The main driving force to continue a Templeton Fire Department is nostalgic and sentimental. The TFD has been on an unstoppable downward spiral for almost ten years since Chief O’Sullivan retired and the existing Board of Directors due to malfeasance or incompetence or probably both failed to timely work to hire a replacement that might continue and improve the phenomenal volunteer department that existed for 100 years. That will never be recovered. The only rational recourse is to give over fire protection service back to SLO county. The other untalked about aspect to this situation is the need for the populace to reassume personal responsibility for their own safety through prevention techniques instead of relying on government involvement. Another question Templeton citizens should ask about is how much money from property taxes given to TCSD from SLO County for fire protection is diverted to recreation which was always supposed to be self funded.

I hate to tell you ISO rating are real, not red herrings. Simple math; what is the cost of insurance for a higher ISO rating for Templeton homeowners if their FD closes? It will change. You can’t deny that.

Telling people to reassume responsibility for their own fire protection will go over like a lead ballon. To avoid $180 a year you recommend spending thousands in tank storage and fire mitigation for homeowners? Great suggestion. How many years to recoup that investment? 30 years @ $180 is $5400, which is less than a 10000 gallon storage tank cost of $5600 (low estimate). Not to mention labor to install it. Or maintenance. Your recommendation would cost a lot more to individual homeowners than keeping FD in tact.

Those who haven’t moved into the area over the last 20 years would be hard pressed to take your medicine. Those with resources already heed your advice.

I prefer to keep my fire, police, and postal services socialized. Just like our founding fathers intended.

You hit the nail right on the head MrYan. What it boils down to is individualism vs. collectivism but you misread my premise. I did not say ISO ratings are a red herring. I said the argument that a Templeton Fire Department was necessary to prevent an increase in rating was the red herring. I believe the whole north county community will be better served by incorporating with Cal Fire. I did not say residents should assume responsibility for their fire protection. I said they should assume responsibility for their safety through prevention techniques. I will reassert that the main driving force to continue a TFD is for nostalgic and sentimental reasons.

Who are the members of the templeton csd? what are their positions on the issue?

Same song – slightly different tune. First thing on any city’s agenda is to tap into the taxpayer’s pocket for more and more. Paso Robles tried it with an added sales tax – defeated (for time being).

I would suggest that the voters in Templeton demand to have some very hard and defensible data given them prior to just ‘rolling’ over and giving the city more. How many firemen are on full-time salary? How many have been added over past 1-2 years? What is average salary of the firemen?

Is this well above average salary of the general population of Templeton? How much does Templeton owe to CalPERS for unfunded retirement? Isn’t this where most of the added money will go? Has the city been completely open and truthful on what has been done to decrease expenditures? Make do with what you have – rather than continually ask for more and more and more.

Lastly, I ask that the voters strongly vote down any added tax (especially without it being completely justified). Voting for an added tax in Templeton will just encourage other cities to do the same thing – always go more and more. It is guaranteed that Paso Robles will ask their voters for more money by next election. Please don’t encourage them.

So, we’ll continue to have horrible roads; I live here. While atascadero and slo have new roads even rural with 1/2 cent sales tax; I commute all over south. I was shocked after I voted that paso didn’t go foward with such a small personal tax that generates so much money for one purpose, roads. Rural county members on county maintained roads need Templeton Fire, just let the expenditures be transparent to the public, with public comment. Firefighters are EMT and Paramedics too fyi. Do you know how many Geriatrics live in Templeton At RCFE and PT recovery, hundreds. Vineyard RCFE is one of them. Firefighters act as first responders, especially the Paramedic Firefighters. They are mandated to all be EMTS and can provide data to emergencies.

FYI – you should check the facts a little closer! What may seem like a ‘small’ personal tax to you is a very big impact on the residents who live on a fixed income and do not have the ‘luxury’ of tapping into someone else’s pocketbook.

Also please note that only some (Paso CC refused to commit to how much) of proposed revenue would go for road repair (which, by the way, has continued without the added tax – go figure). The added revenue (if tax increase had passed) would have went directly into the general fund – where it could be used for whatever the CC chose. A large percentage would have gone to CalPERS for unfunded retirement costs. Think God, enough voters seen thru this sham and defeated the tax.

But, it will come back. Paso Robles CC (and a lot of other cities) are ‘hooked’. even addicted to the ‘quick fix’ solution of getting more money from their citizens; rather than figure out how to better spend the revenue they already have. So. it is a guarantee that in one form or another, Paso Robles citizens will be asked to ‘pony’ up again to pay for higher salaries, higher benefits, more employees than needed, and other extravagances. We must stay vigilant and demand better.

Totally agree. Transparency is needed, Atascadero and Slo were super clear about usage. I appreciate you keeping tabs about it though. Salaries for city jobs are out of control in this county, and America in general for city jobs, agreed.

SLO APPEARED to be super clear about usage, but they fooled the taxpayers. The increased taxes were earmarked for specific purposes, but then the expenditures out of the general fund for those purposes was greatly reduced… so it didn’t turn out to be ADDITIONAL funds for those purposes. The roads in San Luis Obispo are getting so bad it’s ridiculous.

When are people going to realize the exorbitant cost to have a small Fire and Police dept instead of outsourcing to County/State. There is no way that small communities can take advantage of the new technology in Medical/Fire and Police work. By outsourcing to larger agencies they take advantage of the larger organizations having the budget for that technology.

Los Osos cried wolf on the Fire dept going out to bid. Most people tell me that they feel they got better medical & fire response when needed.

It is impossible to be effective in this day and age in a labor intensive service without charging dearly for that service. Ask Templeton and Morro Bay how much of cost of service is strictly labor costs.

Economy of scale and Leveraging are the 2 factors that make this sensible.

It’s about saving lives friend, and Firefighters do just that, they’re worth it, you’d be sorry to not have them when you need them, they’re Paramedics too. Only the fire chief makes outrageous pay, but they also act as code inspectors and legal litigators for property modification. Taxes are a good and bad thing.

I am not sure why you believe that I am not also interested in saving lives. With outsourcing of fire and police you have better coverage than from your own budget starved department. In my post I should have been more clear about Los Osos. It was after they disbanded the local FD that people thought they were getting better response than before. IT IS about lives!

I hear you, it’s just rural response times from paso or neighboring ocean cities for let’s say adalaida region or back roads templeton would be rough. I was just a bit taken back people would not want local fire even if it involved some taxes. Chiefs do make a lot, pensions are rough, upkeep is rough. It is expensive but loss of life is, well we all know.

I’m not sure if you’re just referring to Templeton when you say it’s only chiefs that make the ridiculous incomes. But if it’s not just Templeton, then you’re sorely mistaken. In San Luis, public safety in general tops the list…. if you look statewide, the pay being earned by firefighters is SHOCKING


We need to tell the state to stop ripping the county’s and city’s off…get your sticky fingers out of our rainy day funds….

So Templeton residents & businesses have to pay for CalFire & their own local fire department?

If they want Fire protection closer than 4-5 miles away they do.

Templeton’s Fire risk rating will go up and as a result so will the cost of fire insurance if they lose the station.

It may be cheaper for some home and business owners to pony up and pay the tax than the cost of higher insurance rates.

Not true, CDF has a station in Templeton, smart move would be to contract with them.

Actually. It is true.

CDF no longer exists. It is Cal Fire now. It is on Ramada Drive about 4 miles from Templeton, technically in Paso Robles.

Yes they could contract with them. It will be further distance for almost all of those currently served. Their fire rating will change as a result. That is how the system works. Nothing to dispute.

Citizens in Templeton will need to make a cost benefit analysis before they vote. It is that simple.

From my experience the cost difference between insuring a zone 5 versus a zone 7 property would easily offset the $180 extra tax. They, the citizens, need to understand how the insurance rating will change and how much that will affect their insurance premium.

It may be hard to believe but voluntarily adding a tax may save them money overall. Those with larger properties will reap the biggest benefit because the tax appears to be Flat. All property owners pay the same rate.

Nice try but they will be coming back for year after year asking for more money, it never stops, and this was already looked at by the Templeton CSD. Its time for a change, Cal Fire can lease the Templeton Station from Templeton for a $1.00 a year, and why put it on the property owners, all the renters get the same service?