HESPERIA Voters resoundingly rejected Measure F at the ballot box on Election Day, but supporters of the proposition see another possible means of funding the ailing Hesperia Fire District.


The fire district, which pays for the city's fire service through the San Bernardino County Fire Department, is primarily funded by property tax revenue. That revenue has been in steep decline since the recession, dropping 24 percent over three years. A proposed $85 parcel tax was overwhelmingly voted down on Nov. 8, with more than 80 percent of voters saying no.


In order to close the $1.4 million budget gap in the fire district budget, the city will be closing Station 301 on 11th Avenue on Jan. 1. The cuts shave $752,000 off the fire district's $9.2 million budget for the already-in-progress fiscal year, which began July 1.


But now, supporters of Measure F are looking at another possible source of revenue: funds paid each year from the Hesperia Fire District to the Hesperia Redevelopment Agency.


Redevelopment agencies are intended to spur development, create jobs and improve property values in declining or blighted areas. (Redevelopment agencies were targeted by Gov. Jerry Brown's budget- trimming scissors, but cities were allowed to pay the state to keep theirs open, which Hesperia did earlier this fall.)


Every year, the fire district pays out funds based on the value of property over what it was valued at in 1993, the year the Hesperia City Council approved the agreement between the RDA and fire district.


Redevelopment agencies are typically funded by other agencies, according to Hesperia Assistant City Manager Brian Johnson.


"A redevelopment agency itself has no taxing authority," Johnson said Wednesday.


Working out how much revenue each local agency was to pay into a newly developed RDA became such a hassle that the California legislature passed a law in 1994 mandating exactly how much each agency would pay. Although the exact breakdown of how the revenues would be paid out would be different if the Hesperia City Council had merely waited a year, the overall amount of money paid by the fire district to the RDA would probably be about the same, according to Johnson.


Property tax funds from other agencies came to $18.5 million for the Hesperia RDA in the 2011-12 budget. About $1 million of that came from the Hesperia Fire District. Measure F would have generated about $2.55 million for the fire district every year for five years, had it been approved.


"At the next council meeting, I'm going to ask staff to complete a report on this and get back to us," Hesperia city councilman Bill Holland said. "I'm not sure how feasible it would be to unwind it."


It may not be: Much of the revenue is tied up in payments for bonds authorized in 2005 and 2007, both of which are insured by bond insurance agency Excelsure. Failure to repay the bonds which the city did in the 1990s, when the RDA and its debt obligations were much smaller would almost certainly be met with a lawsuit, according to Johnson.


The next regular meeting of the Hesperia City Council will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6 at Hesperia City Hall, 9700 Seventh Ave.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at Beau@ HesperiaStar.com. Follow us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Hesperia.Star.