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Kenwood Fire Department news

By Jay Gamel

Every year, the Kenwood Fire Protection District determines how much of its allowable tax rate to impose on the district’s residential, agricultural, and commercial landowners in the form of a “benefit assessment” collected by the Sonoma County Assessor’s office, along with other special district fees and taxes. Most people in Kenwood get charged for the fire assessment, high school and junior college bonds, a mosquito abatement district, San Francisco Bay restoration, and the Warm Springs-Russian River Project.

And, yes: Kenwood’s fire taxes are going up from the $40 that has been the flat rate for more than 35 years. Just how much will be decided at the public hearing, or shortly thereafter.

In past years, special assessments amounted to just under $100. With the district’s new rate, approved by a vast majority of residents in the district last year, the total could double or more, depending on your new fire assessment.

The new rate and how it will be applied will be explained at the hearing, and questions will be fielded and answered. Call the county assessor if you have any questions about how your property has been classified: residential, commercial, or agricultural. Kenwood’s taxable parcels are overwhelmingly residential.

District needs volunteer firefighters

Most residents are unaware that the majority of Kenwood firefighters are volunteers. They respond to emergencies and provide fire suppression, emergency medical care, and specialized rescue services, immediate response to national disasters, and many other services that assist the public.

The Kenwood Fire Protection District is looking for men and women who are residents of Kenwood, over the age of 18, and in good physical condition, who are interested in serving their community.

Ask yourself, “If my neighbor needed help, wouldn’t I want to do more than just watch?” Watching someone in need can be a helpless feeling, and helping has its own rewards.

Remember, the next person that saves you or a member of your family may be a volunteer. The fire district would like the opportunity to teach you new skills and help you use your courage to help those who need it.

If you want to be a part of this effort, do something important for your community. Get involved, take the challenge! Call (707) 833-2042 for information, or visit the fire station at 9045 Sonoma Hwy. in Kenwood. You can also check out Training of potential recruits is ongoing.

Grant writers sought to expand revenue

“We are seeking one or more people with experience in grant writing to volunteer to help the district be more active in seeking out grants that would provide more revenue,” director Jack Atkin said after the entire fire board agreed that would be a good idea at the April 12 regular directors’ meeting. Atkin noted that the district has obtained grants from time to time, but the board is interested in becoming more aggressive in pursuing new sources of revenue.

Interested parties should contact Chief Bellach at (707) 833-2042.