More Than 77 Percent Voted for 24/7 Emergency Staffing
The community of Templeton showed strong support for Templeton Fire and Emergency Services in a special property tax election on August 27 in which 77.49 percent of voters approved 24/7 staffing for the unincorporated
“I could not be more happy with the love and caring support that the community of Templeton has shown toward our fire and emergency services,” Fire Chief Bill White said.
Of the 4,702 property owners eligible to participate, 48.51 percent cast their votes; 1,766 voted in favor of the tax, while 513 opposed it. For an annual cost of $180 per parcel property, the tax is expected to provide $486,000 per year to support round-the-clock staffing.
Currently, only 6 cents of the 8.4 cents collected from property taxes is allocated to Templeton Fire Department, which is modestly staffed during office hours to serve the community. Nighttime hours are covered by firefighters only when they are available and able to stay at the fire station.
Since 2010, Templeton has experienced a 75 percent increase in service calls, 60 percent of which are medical incidents. Cal Fire Engine 30, which covers an area of 60 square miles and provides backup to Templeton Fire, was unable to respond to almost 14 percent of 911 calls in Templeton as they were already handling other incidents.
Templeton Fire and Emergency Services firefighters are also committed to playing a significant role in support of the cancer community. Last February, the annual flower sale at Templeton’s firehouse collected $15,000 and netted $8,000, which was donated to fund cancer research. For the annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Firefighter Stairclimb event in Seattle last March, Templeton firefighters funded their own expenses, including airfare and accommodations. In 2018, TFD raised $18,788 and increased its 2019 tally to $21,661.
Increased grassroots support played a significant part in rallying financial assistance for the department’s projected deficit and Templeton isn’t alone in its struggle to maintain its 120-year record of service. Due to inadequate funding, the Cayucos Fire Protection District (Station 56) disbanded in December 2018. Now that the firehouse is administered by Cal Fire, a permanent plaque commemorates the Cayucos Fire Department’s 70 years of service to the community.
“I was an emotional wreck after the preliminary votes were posted and we saw how much the community had rallied around our department,” White said. “I was in tears as I hugged Fire Captain Brandon Wall. So much energy and effort has been put towards the education campaign and really spreading the word to the community as to the value of keeping Templeton Fire and Emergency Services properly funded.”