<b>State fire fee</b>
EDITOR: I greatly appreciate your recent series dealing with the issues facing rural fire departments. The issues facing Sonoma County departments are the same issues facing most volunteer departments throughout the state. These departments respond 24/7/365 to all manner of emergencies and are the primary providers in rural communities. Costs continue to rise while access to funds becomes more problematic.
Unfortunately, your articles failed to address the impact of the state's recently enacted state responsibility area fee. This fee has severely affected the ability of rural departments to raise funds. In Mendocino County, both Willits and Brooktrails recently lost fire tax votes by only a few votes. The fee clearly had an impact.
Over the past year, this fee has removed $230 per residential parcel within fire districts that are also classified as state responsibility areas. None of these funds are earmarked for local government. To my knowledge, none of this money has come back to the benefit of the communities saddled with the fee.
With the potential of a severe fire season, these dollars would go a long way to support the volunteer fire departments that protect life and property in the rural communities.
Chief, Laytonville Fire Department
EDITOR: Ever since Social Advocates for Youth opened Tamayo House, the residents thereof have been good neighbors. Christ Church, Methodist, which is directly across the street from Tamayo House, has never had a single problem with Tamayo House residents.
Neither has the preschool on our campus had any problems with Tamayo House. Finally, the Harvest for the Hungry Garden, behind the church, has had no problems with SAY residents.