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Rural Fire To Reassess Parcels For Revenue

POSTED February 1, 2011 11:49 p.m.

Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District volunteers will be paying a visit to the 1,900 parcels located within the district in the hope of discovering previously untapped revenue in the form of taxable improvements made on residential and commercial properties.

The board approved funds to hire one or two district volunteers to pick up the labor associated with driving to the parcels and doing the paperwork involved to update the records.

“It’s been a topic of discussion for a few months,” Interim Fire Chief Lee Winton shared. “We presented it as a concept to the board and we received total support.”

The process should start soon with a finish date of June, just in time for the next fiscal year to begin. No letters will be sent out before they begin, as the mailing costs are prohibitive, the paid staff will simply show up on the parcel, plainly identified as Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District representatives.

“They will be wearing official uniforms and will conduct themselves in a professional manner,” Winton said.

The impetus behind this action is clearly the need for more money and Winton is blunt about the need.

“We hope to identify some additional revenue,” Winton said. “Stanislaus Consolidated did a similar project and it was more than worthwhile.”

The volunteer fighters hired to take on this significant workload will be looking for any add-ons that increase the square footage of the residence or commercial space, a change in occupancy or a business change.

Lee said it’s been a few years since the last inspection of the parcels and the district is overdue.

“This is something that we really need to take a look at. The way times are today, we need every dime,” Winton said.

Big changes within the rural fire agency have seen lay-offs, station brown-outs and a joining of services with Oakdale City Fire to lessen the strain on the budget and those measures have begun to improve the bottom line.

“We have begun the process of living within our means,” Winton said. “We’re doing much better.”

Although revenue is static and costs have continued to rise, there’s no longer simply shades of red in the budget line items.

“There’s no more money coming in but our budget is in control,” Winton said.

Anyone with questions or concerns about the tax assessment may contact the Oakdale Rural administrative office at 847-6898.

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