HESPERIA Thousands of dollars have already been spent in the debate over whether Hesperians should pay an additional $85 tax per property parcel next year to support firefighting efforts.


Hesperians will go to the polls Nov. 8 to vote on Measure F, which will go to fund the Hesperia Fire District. The district, in turn, pays for the city's fire service, contracted through the San Bernardino County Fire Department.


Should Measure F fail, the City Council will have to cut the equivalent of nine firefighter/paramedics in January, according to a vote council members took to put Measure F on the ballot.


If approved, the parcel tax would expire after five years and could only be renewed by another ballot measure.


The primary funding source for the fire district, residents' property taxes, has dropped by 24 percent in the past three years, following the bursting of the housing market bubble.


Measure F will need to be approved by two-thirds of voters, and will replace that lost property tax revenue and more. The additional revenue will also help repay money paid from the city's general fund to cover the fire district's losses in the 2010-11 fiscal year.


According to campaign financial documents received by the city clerk's office on Sept. 29, more than $12,000 has already been raised for the campaign and, as of Sept. 24, almost $7,000 has already been spent.


The Hesperia Free Press Committee to Opposed Measure F Hesperia 2011 Fire Safety Tax Measure has a total of $2,689 banked, all of it contributed by committee head Al Vogler, the husband of former mayor Rita Vogler. As of Sept. 24, Vogler hadn't yet spent any of his funds.


His opposition, Hesperia Citizens for Public Safety Yes on Measure F, Sponsored by San Bernardino County Professional Firefighters, has raised $10,000 so far in the form of a lump sum from San Bernardino County Professional Firefighters No. 1230110. As of Sept. 24, the committee has spent $6,843, including $5,000 to Tustin political consultants Delta Partners and $1,701 on campaign literature.


The next set of campaign financial disclosure forms, covering the period between Sept. 25 and Oct. 22, are due to the city clerk's office by Oct. 27. Any major expenditure between then and the election will have to be declared to the clerk's office within 24 hours.


Beau Yarbrough may be reached at (760) 956-7108 or at beau@HesperiaStar.com.