A parcel tax to raise money for fire services in many parts of the county — Measure Q — was defeated Election Day, after failing to achieve the two-thirds majority needed for it to pass. The unofficial count from the Contra Costa County Elections Division, with 453 of 453 precincts counted, was 87,231 yes votes (52.45 percent) and 79,066 no votes (47.55 percent).
The $75 per parcel per year tax was expected to generate an additional $16.8 million a year and enable the Contra Costa County Fire Protection District, or ConFire, to maintain service in the face of eroding property tax revenues. The 304-square-mile district provides fire service through most of central and east Contra Costa Country, including Concord, Clayton, Antioch, Lafayette, Martinez, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek.
Without the funding from Measure Q, Contra Costa Fire District officials say up to 10 of the district's 28 stations will be closed in the next several years, starting with four fire stations shuttering in January.
The district yet to decide which stations will close, but when possible shutdowns were considered in 2010, stations in Concord, Martinez, Lafayette and Pittsburg were suggested.
Opponents of the measure, led by the Contra Costa County Taxpayers Association, argued that the measure would have only been a temporary fix for a fire district that has long failed to reign in soaring pension costs.
Kris Hunt, the president of the taxpayers association, said the measure was asking too much of voters and too little of a fire district that spends a sizable chunk of its budget on pensions and health care costs for retirees. Retiree costs make up a quarter of the district's budget this fiscal year, Hunt said.
This article has been corrected since initial publication to reflect updated election results.
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