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    10.    
Finance Committee
Meeting Date: 07/13/2021  
FROM: Bill Gallardo

Subject:

Approval of Fiscal Year 2021-22 Property Tax Rate to Fund the City's Paramedic Program

RECOMMENDATION
Approve resolution.
BACKGROUND/DISCUSSION
At the March 7, 1978, general municipal election, the qualified electors of the City, by and through the City Council, approved the levy of an annual property tax rate to fund the City’s Paramedic Program. This annual property tax was not to exceed $0.20 per $100 of Assessed Value (25% of market value) per year. Beginning in 1981, the County of Orange implemented a policy change concerning Assessed Value. The tax roll is now reported at “Full Taxable Value” rather than Assessed Value.
 
For Fiscal Year 1981-82, the property valuation was increased to Full Taxable Value for property tax purposes.  Therefore, the tax rate needed to be decreased in order for the actual amount of taxes paid by the property owner to remain unchanged.  According to Resolution 81-72, a tax rate of $0.045 per $100 of Full Taxable Value is equivalent to a tax rate of $0.18 per $100.00 of Assessed Value based on the previous method.
 
State law prohibits the City Council from increasing the paramedic levy above the voter-authorized level. The tax rate of $0.045 per $100 of Full Taxable Value is less than the voter-authorized maximum tax rate. Additionally, it is noted that the passage of Proposition 218 by the voters in November 1996 had no impact on the City’s ability to levy the annual Paramedic Tax, as the tax was voter-approved in 1978.
 
Each fiscal year the City Council adopts a resolution approving the rate of tax upon taxable property within the City of Brea.  This tax rate is required to be approved by the City Council and submitted to the Orange County Auditor-Controller’s Office no later than August 10, 2021 allowing the County to apply the rate of taxation to the City’s property tax roll to maintain the Paramedic Program.
 
Since its inception in 1979, the Brea Fire Services Department Paramedic Program has grown considerably from the days when the paramedics responded to calls in an old red van. Currently, the paramedics utilize a modern paramedic engine company configuration. The original program that began in Fiscal Year 1978-79 had a budget of $200,000 and was fully funded by revenues generated from the paramedic tax. While the actual tax rate has remained constant over the past 42 years, additional revenue has been generated from increases in the property values. Meanwhile, direct expenditures have increased as the program has been greatly enhanced, as outlined below, and as the City’s population and service demands have increased.
 
About the Paramedic Program
A “Paramedic Engine Company” providing Emergency Medical Service (EMS) delivery is currently the most common staffing configuration in operation locally and regionally. This configuration provides for Advanced Life Support capability within its fire-fighting and emergency response resources without compromising either service. The City’s paramedic units, Brea Engine Company #1, Truck Company #2 and Engine Company #3, are complete units that respond to both fires and medical emergencies. In addition, resources necessary to provide functional support, such as extrication of patients and fire protection during traffic emergencies, are available at the scene with the paramedic unit.
 
The program started in Fiscal Year 1978-79 with seven certified paramedics. The Brea Fire Services Department currently carries a complement of 21 certified paramedics and one Emergency Medical Services Manager. This allocation level meets the staffing requirement of the Orange County EMS Agency while providing for uninterrupted deployment of paramedics during leave, training and emergency conditions. Just as the nature of emergencies has changed, so has the required paramedic skill level. Paramedics are being delegated greater responsibility in the field as emergency room medicine is continually being evaluated and streamlined.  Paramedic staff receive continuous in-service training on a myriad of topics, including: trauma medicine; air and blood-borne pathogens; environmental emergencies; pediatric medicine, including sudden death syndrome; swift water rescue and mass casualty management.
 
Field techniques have improved greatly since the program began with treatment advances in the areas of Adult and Pediatric Intubation (airway management requiring insertion of appliances into the trachea), cervical-spine treatments and neurological protection, improved treatment for burn victims and the AED program (cardiac defibrillation), which is in service on all responding Brea units.
 
Paramedic Response History 

 
Calendar Year
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Total Emergency Medical Calls(1) 4,218 4,265 3,948 3,832 3,660
Total Calls for Service from Fire Dept.
(Including false alarm responses)(1)
5,413 5,373 4,917 4,893 4,823
Percent of Total 77.92% 79.38% 80.29% 78.3% 75.9%
(1) Data updated to include all call data reported from the Metro Cities Fire Authority Metro Net Communications Report
 
SUMMARY/FISCAL IMPACT
Paramedic tax revenue is accounted for in the Paramedic Services Fund (Fund 174) separate from the City's General Fund. This fund was established to account for revenues generated from the paramedic tax and other revenues, as well as costs associated with the Brea Paramedic Program. This includes personnel costs for 21 full-time paramedic positions, one EMS Manager position and related costs to operate the program.
 
The proposed paramedic tax rate is $0.045 per $100 of Full Taxable Valuation. Based on an estimated Full Taxable Valuation (secured and unsecured value) of $11.698 billion, the estimated tax levy is $5.264 million. The total annual levy also includes a levy on supplemental, public utility and other property values that occur annually which is projected to bring the total levy to $5.672 million.
 
The former Brea Redevelopment Agency (RDA), which was established in 1971, impacts the flow of paramedic tax revenues to the City. Property owners within the RDA project area pay the same property rate as if they were outside the RDA project area (non-RDA area properties). Paramedic tax for properties outside the RDA project area are remitted to the County and flow directly back to the City. However, under state law, property tax revenue (including the Paramedic Tax) remitted by property owners within the Redevelopment Project Areas to the county was allocated annually first to the Redevelopment Agency.
 
In 2012, Redevelopment Agencies were dissolved and Successor Agencies were established to pay off the remaining obligations for the former redevelopment agencies. As in all California cities, Brea’s property taxes (including Paramedic Tax) remitted from properties in the project areas, are now allocated to Redevelopment Property Tax Trust Fund (RPTTF) and the portion needed to pay off the obligations for that fiscal year is forwarded to the Successor Agency. The remaining portion of the Paramedic Tax revenues allocated to the RPTTF are passed back to the City.
 
As the Successor Agency pays down the obligations of the former Redevelopment Agency, the Paramedic Tax revenues that were previously directed to the RDA and now the Successor Agency are slowly, but surely, coming back to the City for paramedic service sooner than they otherwise would have been. For FY 2021-22, it is estimated that 64.2% of paramedic tax revenues ($1.597 million) allocated to the RPTTF will be passed back to the City.

The following is a summary of the estimated levy; the amount to be allocated to the Successor Agency and the amount to be passed back to the City:
 
Property Description Estimated Levy Amount to
Successor Agency
Amount to City % to the City
Non-Redevelopment Area Properties $3.186   $3.186 100.0%
Redevelopment Area Properties $2.486 ($0.889) $1.597 64.2%
Totals $5.672 ($0.889) $4.783  


The estimated paramedic tax levy, net of the amount retained by the Successor Agency. is projected to generate $4,783,000 to the City of Brea in Fiscal Year 2021-22. The revenue collected will cover approximately 76.3% of the $6,271,744 of estimated program costs. The difference is to be funded from the City's General Fund in the amount of $1,154,830 and other revenue sources in the amount of $333,914. Other revenue sources include pass-thru revenue received for Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulance transport services, as well as revenue received from the City of Fullerton for Fire Command Staff Sharing of the EMS Manager position.  The City of Fullerton reimburses the City of Brea for 59% of the position.
RESPECTFULLY SUBMITTED
William Gallardo, City Manager
Prepared by:  Ana Conrique, Senior Accountant
Concurrence: Cindy Russell, Administrative Services Director
Attachments
FY 2021-22 Paramedic Resolution

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