Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Measure 9-142

Please also review the Explanatory Statement for the Measure for more information.  

1.    Why is the Cloverdale Fire District Board asking for a local option levy now?


The number of calls for emergency response in the District has increased significantly over the last decade. In 2009, Cloverdale Fire responded to 158 calls. Ten years later, in 2019, that number had more than doubled to 363. This requires an ever-increasing time commitment by the District’s volunteers and challenges the District to adjust its approach to ensure fast emergency response. In February of this year, after a thorough review of options to improve response times and service, the Board decided to move forward with what they deemed the most cost-effective option.


2.    How would the levy impact response times to my home?


Due to the nature of fire and medical emergencies, faster response saves lives and property. Passage of the levy would result in improved response times for a large number of emergency calls throughout the District. This is because Cloverdale Fire currently has funding for only two paid responders who are on duty weekdays during the day. When the station is not staffed, volunteers must drive to the station for equipment and apparatus before responding. This typically adds 8 to 12 minutes to the time it takes to leave the station. The three firefighter-medics Cloverdale Fire would hire using levy funds would ensure the main station is staffed 24/7, largely eliminating those delays.

 


3.    How would the levy impact medical response?


The quality of medical response would improve because the three firefighter-medics hired would be paramedics with Advanced Life Support (ALS) skills. Paramedics with ALS training can provide medical interventions on-scene once only available in emergency rooms. At least one firefighter with paramedic level skills would be on duty at all hours.


For the majority of District residents, there would be faster ambulance response since an ALS ambulance would be located at the main station. This would reduce the time required to get higher-level care to a patient and could improve survival from life-threatening emergencies. Currently, no ambulance is stationed in the District.

4.    Will Cloverdale still utilize Volunteers?

Volunteer response will still be a major component of the success of the Cloverdale District.  Volunteer personnel will be utilized in addition to the paid shift staff on many calls, and they will be invaluable on the major incidents. Qualified volunteer response will also allow a paid paramedic to remain available for a second emergency. 

5.    How much would the levy increase property taxes on each property?


Residents can visit http://dial.deschutes.org and enter their address.  The “Assessed Value” (not Market Value) is in the lower right hand of the page.  Multiply this number by 1.35 to arrive at the additional cost that address would pay annually if the measure passes.      

6.    How does Cloverdale Fire’s current and proposed tax rates compare to similar fire districts?
 

Cloverdale Fire’s current tax rate is substantially lower than similar neighboring fire districts. If the five-year levy is approved, the combined tax rate (permanent rate plus bonds or levies) would remain lower than Crooked River Ranch Fire, Black Butte Ranch Fire, and Sisters- Camp Sherman Fire.

  • Crooked River Ranch    

    • $3.21

  • Black Butte Ranch    

    • $3.03

  • Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire    

    • $2.92

  • Cloverdale Fire with levy    

    • $2.85

  • La Pine    

    • $2.41

  • Cloverdale Fire currently    

    • $1.50

 


7.    If the levy is approved, will the two existing Cloverdale Fire employees receive a raise?
 

The two existing employees will be brought up to the pay scale used by Sisters Fire – which is near average in the Central Oregon area. Governmental regulations require consistent pay across roles in districts that cooperate in the manner proposed.  Both employees will be reduced in rank in order to minimize the cost impact.  

8.    What is impact of the levy to Cloverdale Fire’s budget?
 

If approved, the levy would have a substantial impact on Cloverdale Fire’s budget. The budget is currently about $448,000 annually. It is estimated that in the first year of the levy, approximately $532,000 would be received, increasing the budget to approximately $980,000. The funds from the levy would be spent on two categories of expenditures:

  1. Personnel costs of existing staff and new hires (85%)

  2. Contract fees paid to Sisters Fire (15%)

9.    What will the contract fees paid to Sisters Fire be used for?


The contract fees would go towards a contract with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District for a range of services that Cloverdale Fire would no longer need to provide, including administrative oversight, fire safety management, financial management, and equipment repair and maintenance. This would result in an overall reduction of administrative and overhead costs for Cloverdale Fire and allow the two current staff members, along with the three new hires, to have more availability to respond to emergency calls for service.

10.    If the levy is approved, how would Station 602, the main station on Cloverdale Road, be staffed?


The main Cloverdale Station would be staffed by at least two career firefighter-medics 24/7. One of the two firefighter-medics on duty would have Advanced Life Support certification. Additional firefighter-medics may be assigned to Station 602 when needed. A resident volunteer would also be assigned shifts to support the career firefighter-medic.


An ALS ambulance would also be located at Station 602 to respond to medical emergencies.


11.    If the levy is approved, how would Station 601, the station on George Cyrus Road, be staffed?
 

Station 601 is not currently staffed. If the levy is approved, there is the possibility Cloverdale’s three student/resident volunteers would live at Station 601 and would be able to respond to calls for service from the station depending on the level of their certification. Just as they do now, community volunteer firefighters and medics would respond to fire and medical emergencies using apparatus located at 601. This response would be in addition to the response from 602 by the paid staff and 602 volunteers.

 


12.    How is ambulance service currently provided to the residents of the Cloverdale Fire District? How would this be different if the levy passes?


Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District is responsible for the Ambulance Service Area (ASA) that includes the majority of the Cloverdale Fire District. (The ASA provider is determined by Deschutes County). If the levy is approved, one Sisters-Camp Sherman ambulance would be re-located to Cloverdale’s main station on Cloverdale Road, allowing for faster on-scene response by a paramedic with Advanced Life Support skills in the Cloverdale Fire District.


13.    What is the current call volume of the Cloverdale Fire District?


Cloverdale Fire District currently responds to about 350 calls per year. Of those calls, about half of the in-district calls are for medical emergencies. As noted earlier, calls for service have more than doubled in the last decade. In 2009 Cloverdale Fire responded to 158 calls. By 2019 that number had increased to 363. Call frequency makes it difficult for volunteers to meet the increased demand.


 

14.    If the levy is approved, how would the Cloverdale Fire District’s relationship with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District change?


Cloverdale Fire and Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire – who share a long common border - already work closely together with firefighter-medics from the two districts often assisting on calls in the other District. If the levy is approved, Cloverdale Fire and Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire anticipate a closer working relationship. Some of the levy funds would go toward a contract between Cloverdale Fire and Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire to provide a range of services including administrative oversight, fire safety management, financial management, and ambulance repair and maintenance. This contract would reduce the administrative and overhead costs of Cloverdale Fire and free up current Cloverdale Fire staff so they would have greater availability to respond to emergency calls.

In addition, if the levy is approved, Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire would locate one of its ambulances at the Cloverdale main station.
 

An important result of this closer working relationship is the added efficiency – to achieve the same response benefits without the closer working relation, Cloverdale would need to hire more firefighter-medics than under the current plan.
 

While having a closer working relationship with Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire, Cloverdale Fire would continue to be an independent fire district with its own governing board.
 

The Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire District Board has voted unanimously to support the Cloverdale Fire’s levy and the closer working relationship it would support.


15.    Would the hiring of additional firefighter-medics result in an improved ISO rating and a lowering of fire insurance rates?

Adding in-station, 24-hour staffing potentially improves the District’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating. There is no guarantee that the ISO rate will change, or that an improved ISO rating would result in the lowering of an individual homeowner’s fire insurance rate since some carriers use their own calculation. However, the changes proposed are a major factor in the ISO and insurance calculations.  If the ISO rating does change, at least some of the residents will likely receive a reduction in homeowner insurance rates.