Kenwood Press

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News: 10/15/2020

Measure Z keeps fire appropriations... appropriate

There are five local measures on the November ballots, but one will be watched closely by the Kenwood Fire Protection District – Measure Z.

The measure may look like a tax, but it isn’t.

Measure Z extends the district’s annual appropriations limit, set by an arcane formula arrived at after three modifications that followed the original California constitutional amendment enacted by Proposition 13 in 1978 that limits property taxes.

In 1979, Proposition 4 imposed a requirement to have voters approve the budgets for spending money raised by taxes. It is frequently referred to as the ‘Gann Limits’ after the proposition’s author, tax activist Paul Gann, also a co-sponsor of Prop. 13. The net effect is that special districts, like KFPD, must review and renew their spending limits periodically to keep them in touch with its existing tax base.

According to the voters’ guide, which everyone should have by now, “A ‘yes’ vote on Measure Z is a vote to continue the previously approved increase in the District’s appropriations (spending) limit.”

While the renewal requirements come with flexible rules to accommodate difficult years, that flexibility has been used up since the 2017 wildfires.

Kenwood Fire Protection District MUST get voter approval this year or risk not being able to raise enough money to meet its budgeted expenses, according to the District’s legal advisor, attorney Bill Adams.

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