FIVE-YEAR LOCAL OPTION LEVY RENEWAL FOR PERSONNEL AND EQUIPMENT
QUESTION : Should Scappoose Fire District renew its $0.94 levy and continue to provide the same emergency service it has since 2007? This measure renews current local option taxes.
SUMMARY: A "yes" vote on this levy would retain the current paid firefighter/paramedic positions. District residents will see no change in emergency service or levy rate. The District presently has 3 paid personnel on duty 24-hours per day to respond to fire and medical emergencies. This staffing allows the district to respond immediately with the first emergency ambulance with paramedics. The second emergency will still require volunteers to respond to the station for fire and medical incidents
The permanent tax rate alone is inadequate to properly ensure fire and ambulance service. Our community continues to have a demand for emergency fire and medical response. Combining the permanent tax rate with a 5-year levy has allowed the District to provide adequate staffing since 2007. We are optimistic that the $0.94 levy renewal rate can continue to provide sufficient staffing until 2017.
This levy will begin after the expiration of the present levy 6/30/2012. The levy rate of $0.94 on a home with an assessed value of $150,000 would be $141 per year for 5 years.
The proposed rate will raise approximately $953,696 in 2012/13, $971,770 in 2013/14, $992,225 in 2014/15, $1,012,069 in 2015/16 and $1,032,311 in 2016/17. The estimated tax cost for this measure is an estimate only based on the best information available from the county assessor at the time of the estimate.
The Scappoose Rural Fire District provides fire and ambulance service to over 12,000 citizens in Scappoose, Chapman, Holbrook, and Warren areas. The District is seeking renewal of a 5-year local option levy expiring June 30, 2012. This 5-year levy is a renewal of the current levy of $0.94 per thousand of assessed valuation.
The primary use of the renewed levy is to retain the current paid personnel covered by the outgoing 5-year levy maintaining the coverage for fire and medical calls. Additional levy funds will be used to purchase and upgrade lifesaving fire equipment, medical equipment and replace an aging ambulance
The District's plan is to maintain an adequate level of service using volunteer and paid emergency responders. The Scappoose Fire District would not be able to respond to your fire and medical emergencies without the assistance of career firefighters and medical personnel. The renewal of this operating levy maintains current personnel without the consideration of any major increases in the community or emergency alarms. Community volunteers are not always available to respond to emergencies due to work and family commitments.
The District responded to 1302 emergency incidents in 2010 and 76% were medically related. If an ambulance transport is required it typically takes 2 hours from the time of the call until the ambulance returns to the fire station and is ready for the next emergency. Transport time is very demanding on volunteers. The levy will maintain the firefighter/paramedics hired under the current levy continuing the 24-hour staffing and maintaining emergency response times.
Without the 5-year levy, the current tax rate of $1.1145 per $1,000 assessed value is not adequate to properly ensure fire and ambulance service. Many emergencies, especially overlapping emergencies, will require volunteer response to the station before answering the alarm. The 5-year levy provides 3 on-duty personnel 24-hours a day, allowing immediate fire or medical response. We will rely on the available volunteers to assist with the second and third emergency calls for help.
What happens if the levy is not renewed?
Residents will most likely see delays in response to their emergency. The on-duty firefighter/paramedic will have to wait until volunteer personnel respond from their home to the station before responding to your emergency. Volunteers are not always available to respond to your emergency call for help. Overlapping alarms will become even more difficult. The current local option levy expires in June 2012 and funds the wages of career firefighter/paramedics on 24-hour shifts. If the levy fails, the District may not be able to fund even one firefighter/paramedic on duty 24-hours a day.
If the levy passes, the additional revenue would be used to:
- Maintain the current paid Firefighter/Paramedics
- Save funds to replace the 1998 ambulance
- Purchase and upgrade lifesaving fire and medical equipment
What will it cost me?
The levy is a continuation of the current levy with no increase. The current rate of $0.94 per thousand does cost homeowners $141 per year for a house assessed at $150,000.
President, Board of Directors
Scappoose Rural Fire Protection District
No arguments FOR or AGAINST this measure were filed.