Text of Measure 9-146

 

 

Question:

Shall the District impose a five-year levy starting 2022-2023 of $0.69 per $1,000.00 of assessed value for 24/7 officer staffing?  This measure may cause property taxes to increase more than three percent.

 

Summary:

 

If approved, this measure would allow Cloverdale Rural Fire Protection District to provide 24/7 in-station fire officer/medical staffing - one officer per shift - by hiring two additional full time Fire Officer/EMTs. The levy would also provide funding for three additional student firefighter scholarships for a total of two students per shift. The additional students would allow for the housing of Firefighter/EMT students in the North station for quicker response times.

The primary reasons District volunteers and leaders are asking for the levy are:

  1. An increase in calls and reduction in volunteer officers is making it difficult to maintain the existing level of service that our community has come to expect.

  2. The coverage commitment for the existing officers has become unsustainable.

  3. The District desires to improve response times and availability.

The five-year levy would fund services at a fixed rate of $0.69 per $1,000.00 of assessed property value.  For every $100,000 of assessed value - not market value - the cost would be $69 a year or about $5.75 a month.

Estimated revenue for each year of the levy:

$315,744 in 2022-2023

$328,373 in 2023-2024

$341,508 in 2024-2025

$355,169 in 2025-2026

$369,375 in 2026-2027

Explanatory Statement:

Why is there a need?

There are three major reasons why the Cloverdale Volunteer Fire Fighter’s Association and Board of Directors believe that this levy would greatly benefit the residents of Cloverdale.

  1. An increase in calls and reduction in volunteer officers is making it difficult to maintain the existing level of service that our community has come to expect.  Emergency calls in the District have more than doubled from 2009 (158 calls) to 2021 (370). This increase in calls combined with a decrease in qualified emergency scene leadership has reduced the safety of our department and the community.  

  2. The coverage commitment for the existing paid and volunteer officers has become unsustainable. Currently, the district only has two volunteer officers that are able to respond with the engines to fire calls and serve as overnight responders.  State requirements and mutual aid agreements mandate a qualified Fire Officer be available to respond at all times.

  3. Response times to fire and medical emergencies can make a dramatic difference in the outcome to the residents impacted by the events. Currently, the stations are not staffed full time, and volunteers responding from home generally require 7-12 minutes from the 911 alert until they can respond in an emergency vehicle.  24 hour staffing by qualified Fire Officer/EMTs will improve those response times.

 

 

How is Cloverdale RFPD funded?

The District is funded through a permanent property tax base rate of $1.09 per thousand assessed value that has been in place since 1997. The tax revenue has not kept up with cost increase or the demand for services. If approved, the five-year levy would supplement the existing permanent tax base.

 

What is the increased cost to taxpayers?

This 5-year levy would have a fixed rate of $.69 cents per thousand for five years. This means a property with an assessed value (Tax Assessed Value not Real Market Value) of $300,000 would experience a tax increase of $207.00 per year or $17.25 per month.

 

What is the operational impact to Cloverdale RFPD?

Cloverdale RFPD will continue to be a primarily volunteer district. In addition to improving response times, the funds from this levy would ensure that volunteer responders will have at least one qualified officer to oversee emergency operations. The district will continue to operate independently of other districts, and it will be governed by the existing Board of Directors. 

 

What if the Levy is not approved?

Ensuring responses are staffed with a qualified Fire Officer will continue to be a major challenge.  Without Fire Officers to respond, our volunteers can be put into difficult and dangerous situations. It has become extremely difficult to find volunteers that are able to invest the hundreds of hours of additional training required to become a Fire Officer.  Without supplemental paid staff, the District will continue to be in danger of not being able to field Fire Officers to our critical calls.