How and Why Orindans Are Being Taken Advantage Of by MOFD
Orinda taxpayers are subsidizing wealthy Moraga taxpayers $4 million a year, and that increases every year. This year alone it increased by $400,000.
The numbers below tell the story.
* Orinda’s population represents of 52% of the population served by MOFD.
* Orinda is served by 53% of MOFD’s firefighters, those stationed in Orinda.
These numbers have not changed in the 25 years that MOFD has served Orinda and Moraga.
But Orindans pay:
* 66% of the total tax funding MOFD, $10 million more than Moragans.
* 83% more per capita than Moragans.
For essentially the same service:
* 2,167 residents per firefighter in Orinda
* 2,288 residents per firefighter in Moraga
(Note: both Orinda and Moraga response units respond to about one emergency per day)
If Orinda residents were charged the same as Moraga residents for equivalent service, $587 per capita, Orinda would be paying MOFD $11.4 million, $9.3 million less than they are currently paying.
Why is Orinda paying so much more than Moraga?
When MOFD was formed, Orindans were paying $305 per capita, 44% more than Moragans who were only paying $212 per capita (which had been enough to operate the Moraga Fire Protection District). This generated an additional $1.6 million which was needed to upgrade Orinda’s depleted capital equipment.
But it was only needed for about two years. After that the equipment had been upgraded and half of the excess was an increase in MOFD’s revenue (above levels that Moraga operated at prior to the formation of MOFD) and half was a subsidy to Moraga to fund their half of the increase.
As the year’s progressed this “excess” continued to grow as Orinda’s property tax base, and thus its taxes to MOFD, increased faster than Moraga’s.
Over 25 years Orinda’s taxes to MOFD increased $15.3 million while Moraga’s only increased $7.3 million. Half of the $8 million excess Orinda paid went to increased MOFD costs, and half went to pay for Moraga’s share of the increase. This is the $4 million subsidy Orinda is now paying to Moraga. This is $4 million the Orinda City Council told the Orinda voters in 1997 they would never pay for service outside Orinda.