Strained by Wildfires, L.A. County Firefighters to Ask Voters for Tax Increase Next Year
The Los Angeles County Fire Department plans to ask voters for more money next year, as commanders scramble for more resources to respond to increasingly destructive wildfires and a growing volume of medical calls.
A proposed parcel tax, which the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to consider next week, would collect an estimated $130 million a year from most residents in the department’s 2,300-square-mile jurisdiction — a sprawling area that runs from Malibu to Pomona and includes the county’s beaches.
Department officials say the extra revenue would be used to hire more firefighters and paramedics, and to finance equipment and infrastructure improvements for new communications technology.
The department’s 911 software, for example, dates to the 1980s, with outdated tools for mapping cellphone calls. New fire stations have opened in recent years, but others need repairs. And its fleet of fire engines is aging, officials say.
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