For Immediate Release
Supervisors place firefighting sales tax on March ballot
SANTA ROSA, CA | September 12, 2023
The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors today voted to place on the March 2024 ballot a half-cent sales tax for enhanced fire protection, paramedic services and disaster response after the measure received enough signatures in a petition to be put to voters.
If approved by a majority of voters in the March 5 primary, the initiative would raise approximately $60 million annually, divided by 31 Sonoma County fire agencies. Those agencies could spend the funds according to the expenditure plan, which outlines six program categories: wildfire prevention, preparedness, emergency response, and vegetation management; recruitment and retention of local firefighters; updates to essential equipment and facilities; transfer of funds among designated local agencies or entities; implementation costs; and countywide expenditures, as more fully described in the expenditure plan.
To qualify for the ballot, proponents were required to gather signatures from at least 19,746 registered voters. They submitted 28,990, and the Registrar of Voters validated 23,492 signatures.
If passed, the initiative requires the Board of Supervisors establish an oversight committee of 11 appointed members to provide transparency and ensure fiscal accountability.
At the Sept. 26 meeting, the board will consider adopting a resolution calling the election and then ordering it consolidated with the March Primary.