East County Fire and Rescue voters were rejecting a property tax levy increase to help pay district costs for facilities, equipment and training, voting about 54 percent against, according to early vote tallies.
The ballot proposition was losing 2,118 to 1,812, according to early election results released Tuesday evening.
The levy vote would have raised the district property tax levy rate, increasing district residents’ property taxes by 21 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. That comes to about $7.87 more per month for the owner of a $450,000 home.
District staff said the additional funding would have been used to maintain their level of emergency service response, keep facilities in working order, improve training and repair equipment.
Sate law allows fire districts to set 1 percent revenue increases per year, but the raw amount of money incoming has declined with inflation and rising property values. As those costs rose, the levy rate declined to not exceed that 1 percent limit.
The fire district said emergency call volumes grew 52 percent since 2007. Also driving expenses are increases in utility costs, hikes in health insurance for employees and more expensive training, according to the district.