Alameda County residents should soon see rural fire stations being repaired or even replaced after voters narrowly approved Measure X, early election results show.

The measure narrowly passed with just over 68% of the vote. It required a two-thirds margin or 66.7% of votes to pass.

Measure X allows the Alameda County Fire Department to issue up to $90 million in bonds to make fire station improvements.

That means homeowners in unincorporated areas will see an increase in their property taxes of about $16 per $100,000 of assessed value. The increased taxes are expected to raise an average of $5.2 million a year for about 31 years.

None of the money will go toward firefighter salaries, pensions, or benefits.

The Alameda County Taxpayers Association opposed the bond measure because it said fire officials for one provided few specifics about what the money will be used for.

Alameda County Fire Department Chief William McDonald said in a letter to the community, “Inadequate funding has affected our unincorporated communities, including the closure of one local fire station.”

The chief said the bond money will be used upgrade stations that are 30 years old or older, including two that are more than 70 years old.

The measure also aims to improve wildfire prevention and reduce emergency response times through upgrading the fire stations. Fire officials said 80 percent of 911 calls are for medical emergencies such as strokes, heart attacks and car accidents.

Opponents said it is a bad time to issue a bond, considering people are having a hard-enough time paying their mortgage during the pandemic.

The total cost of the bond is $160 million because of the interest that will have to be paid on top of the principal.

“This a terrible time for a large new tax,” opponents said.