Twentynine Palms Voters Reject Fire Protection/Medical Service Assessment

TWENTYNINE PALMS — Twentynine Palms voters rejected the Measure H tax initiative by a substantial margin.
The initiative to levy an $80 to $120 per parcel assessment on customers of the Twentynine Palms Water District to provide enhanced fire protection and emergency medical aid to the community garnered 850 votes of endorsement, or 48.27 percent, and 911 in opposition, or 51.73 percent, during the mail-in balloting concluded on April 17, according to the San Bernardino County Registrar of Voters.
The registrar said 1,761 voters, or 32.93 percent of the 5,421 eligible to participate, returned ballots. The measure needed the endorsement of two thirds of those voting to pass.
Property owners in the Twentynine Palms Water District’s service area are also within the response area of the Twentynine Palms Fire Department.  According to fire chief Jim Thompson, the defeat of Measure H will likely result in the closure of the Lear Avenue fire station, which provides first response to the Desert Heights and Indian Cove districts and backup for the remainder of Twentynine Palms. The fire station downtown will remain in place and fully staffed, but community leaders have indicated that the decline of the fire department to a single fire station will represents an inadequate level of service.
While voters did not pass Measure H, they did endorse Measure I, which needed only a simple majority to be effective, 906, or 51.24 percent, to 862, or 48.76 percent. Measure I authorized the fire department to spend the revenue that would have been generated had Measure H passed.
The Twentynine Palms Water District board of directors will discuss further funding options for the fire department at its April 25 meeting

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