Answers to Frequently Asked Questions for Measure 9-146
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What capabilities will the levy add to the district?
If the levy passes, it will allow the District to hire two new Fire Officer/EMTs. With this additional personnel, the station will be staffed 24/7 by implementing standard rotating shifts. The levy will also allow the recruiting of three more student/resident volunteers for a total of six so that two can be assigned to each shift.
Why is the Cloverdale Fire District Board asking for a local option levy again?
There continues to be a critical shortage of qualified Fire Officers available to the Cloverdale District. The volunteer officer base has been reduced to a total of two. Injuries and retirement have taken their toll, and there are currently no volunteers that are able to commit to the hundreds of training and on call hours that are required. The existing two paid officers are unable to maintain the full coverage needed for the safety of our volunteer firefighters and our community. This levy would allow the District to hire two additional Fire Officer/EMTs. In addition to resolving the lack of officer resources, it would allow the District to begin 24 hour staffing and bring on additional full time students.
Who is supporting the new levy?
The Cloverdale Volunteer Firefighters Association comprised of all the volunteers of the District voted unanimously to support the 2022 levy. The opponents of the 2021 levy were part of the team that wrote the current levy to address the critical needs of the District. This levy has been reduced to the bare minimum to continue our level of service and to prevent the Board from being forced to make difficult decisions.
What are the primary motivations behind the new levy?
The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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. This will create an impact to our residents as our ability to promptly and effectively respond to calls will be diminished.
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 Fire Officer-EMTs Cloverdale Fire would hire using levy funds would ensure the main station is staffed 24/7, largely eliminating those delays. These minutes saved can make a drastic difference in home fires, wildland fires, and medical emergencies.
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.
Why is there a difficulty in recruiting Volunteer Officers?
Making the transition from Volunteer to Volunteer Officer is a significant commitment and responsibility. There are hundreds of extra hours of initial and ongoing training required. Also, the current response model mandates that Volunteer Officers serve as the on-call officer for around 1500 hours a year. Another factor is that there is a large burden of personal and professional responsibility in being the person accountable for the safety of first responders and citizens during a hazardous scenario - be that a structure fire, a wildland fire, or a motor vehicle accident.
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 (the average in the district) would experience a tax increase of $207.00 per year or $17.25 per month.
How much would the levy increase property taxes on my 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 0.69 to arrive at the additional cost that address would pay annually if the measure passes.
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
Black Butte Ranch
Sisters-Camp Sherman Fire
Cloverdale Fire currently
Cloverdale Fire with levy
If the levy is approved, will the two existing Cloverdale Fire employees receive a raise?
The two existing employees will not receive any additional compensation.
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 one career Fire Officer-EMT 24/7. Two student/resident volunteers would also be assigned shifts to support the career officer.
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 some of the additional student/resident volunteers the levy would provide 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.
What is the current call volume of the Cloverdale Fire District?
Cloverdale Fire District currently responds to about 370 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. Call frequency makes it difficult for volunteers to meet the increased demand.
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.
Would the hiring of additional Fire Officers 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.