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Sonoma County Gazette
Measure F will establish a tax on all parcels within the Graton Fire Protection District boundaries. Image:
Measure F will establish a tax on all parcels within the Graton Fire Protection District boundaries. Image:

Measure F and
Property Taxes and Affordable Housing

Oct 30, 2019
by Jennifer Butler



Happy Fall Ya All. My neighbor, Margie Nelte Johnson, has a flag with this saying on it and every morning when I drive by, I crack up. HOLY SMOKES it is the holiday season already? Reminder that there is still time to volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity project in Graton. When you register to volunteer please use Hannah’s family member number 0017.  


By now you probably know all about measure F. They have done excellent campaigning for it. I can’t go 10 feet without seeing a sign or a volunteer. Most likely you have already decided if you will support it or not, I WILL BE, but if for some reason you are not familiar with it, here are some highlights. 

Graton Fire Board of Directors has placed its first parcel tax, Measure F, on the ballot to fund fire and emergency response services. Measure F will hire 6 career firefighters (2 will be on duty at al l times), and better prepare Graton Fire to respond to wildfires and other emergencies. 


Graton Fire in action. photo:• Significantly Improve Emergency Response Time

• Improve Preparedness for Wildfires and Other Disasters

• Guarantee 24/7 Coverage in the Fire Station for Every Call

• Stopping Structure and Wildland Fires Faster

• Support our Volunteers with Better Training and Coverage

For more information visit or

 e-mail  or call 707-861-0384

SUPPORTING MEASURE F… Why some do and some don’t 

I have asked around the neighborhood and heard both for and against. Everyone likes the idea of what measure F will provide but those few opposed felt that the price tag was too high. There was also still some confusion asking if both renters and property owners pay. To clear that up it is only property owners who will pay the tax to fund Measure F. Those opposed were some of whom feel that they are being priced out of the county and arguably property taxes are an ever-mounting burden of cost. You might be alarmed and think that surely there is no way anyone would oppose such a positive contribution to the safety and wellbeing of the community. Afterall, its only $250 a year or .68 cents a day! Well, what you may not know is how many “only”’s a property owner pays in the Graton area. So, I decided to show you an example (below). 


I am a home owner and I am supporting Measure F however, I understand why others have concerns about affordability. I wanted to take this opportunity to use this as an example of one way we are leveraging the county out of affordable housing. I know that I am combining two issues, but they do go hand in hand. In no way am I trying to dilute the importance of or a yes vote for Measure F. I’m taking a real example of a bi-annual property tax bill to make my point regarding affordable housing. 





Property Tax based on value




WS Dam-Russian River Project


Palm Drive Health Care Dist.


Oak Grove Elem 1991 Bonds


Oak Grove Elem 2014 Bonds


Oak Grove Elem 2018 Bonds


West SOCO USD 1996 Bonds


West SOCO USD 2010 Bonds


West SOCO USD 2010 Bonds


Palm Drive Health


Graton Community Sewer


West SO CITY UHSD Special Bond


South Bay Restoration




West SOCO UHSD 2018 Bonds


SOCO JR College 2002 Bonds


SOCO JR College 2014 Bonds


Total ANNUAL Tax Bill


Average mortgage payment for median home

$2,500 per month

Average Home Owners Insurance


Average Tax Bill (based on example)

$633.90 per month

Total property owner cost to own a home

$3,217.23 per month


In this example a home at an assessed value of $506,370 (probably 2-3 bedroom) would have to be rented at $3,217.23 per month to “break even”. Not including repairs, utilities, soft cost to rent, etc. While, I feel that some have taken advantage of the rental market it is by far NOT the only reason for the affordable housing issue. Neither, is just availability. It’s also the cost to own a home in Sonoma County and much of that is the total annual cost for property taxes. Many agencies and public services rest on the shoulders of the property owner. Right or wrong. If a rental is intended as an investment you can see from this example the cost to own greatly diminishes the profit. Even If you own the home as a primary residence THAT’S A LOT OF MONEY! Just something to think about…

Huge thank you to the volunteers of the Graton Fire District for the years and years of dedicated service! 


Please let me know if there is something that you would like me to know or write about. You can reach 

Feeling Graton by Jennifer Butler



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