Ripon voters face a dilemma. Two respected institutions have been unhappily put in opposition to each other: Bethany Home, the not-for-profit eldercare complex, and the Ripon Consolidated Fire Department, which provides ambulance service.
RCFD has put Measure A on the June 5 ballot to raise $1.2 million annually. Homeowners would pay $125 with a scale for other kinds of properties. But Bethany Home would pay $250 per occupant, suddenly increasing Bethany’s existing tax rate by 600 percent, from $14,430 per year to $87,000. As a not-for-profit, Bethany Home will be forced to pass the cost to occupants – who will find it a financial burden.
We learned about Measure A in mid-April. On May 15, at a well-attended community meeting in Ripon City Hall, RCFD and Bethany Home representatives answered questions. The Bethany complex accounts for under 20 percent of emergency ambulance calls. If the tax is to be proportionate to use, it would be good to know where the other 80 percent of responses by RCFD take place. As written, Measure A is not a property tax but an regressive, inequitable and unfair to Bethany tax.
There was no opportunity to make our objections known before Measure A reached the ballot.
These two flagship Ripon institutions – RCFD and Bethany – have our respect. Regrettably, we will vote No on Measure A.
Hanna Butterman Wilson and Judy Butterman, Ripon