Although the proposed parcel tax to prop up the ailing Hesperia Fire District won't be placed before the voters until November, a picture of what it will eventually look like emerged at this week's meeting of the Hesperia City Council.


The Hesperia Fire District is almost entirely funded by property taxes. In a time of falling property values, that's meant that the district is now running a $1.1 million annual deficit, according to Kim Summers, the assistant to City Manager Mike Podegracz.


To offset the deficit and keep fire service at its current level, the city council is expected to vote at its next meeting on placing a new parcel tax on the Nov. 8 ballot.


The tax would cost property owners an additional $85 per parcel. The tax would expire (or "sunset") after five years.


"They can approve the resolution, with changes," Summers said Wednesday.


The council will also be voting on a second related resolution, which will spell out what the district will do if the property tax fails, as most of the proposed taxes in the city's history have. The district will likely cut 9 firefighters from its rolls, although the city will work with the San Bernardino County Fire Department on where those cuts will take place.


Cutting the salaries and benefits of the firefighters is not an option, however, as the city merely contracts for fire service with San Bernardino County, which negotiates those salaries and benefits with its employees.


"It's like buying a carton of eggs," said Summers. "You don't get to negotiate the price of each egg."


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place on July 19 at 6:30 p.m. at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Avenue.


Beau Yarbrough can be reached at 760-956-7108 or at beau@hesperiastar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.