Marion County Fire District #1 is hosting two virtual meetings to answer questions about its operating levy renewal, which is on the May 19 Primary Election ballot. Measure 24-441 would renew and increase the Fire District’s local operating levy, which accounts for almost 30 percent of its general property tax revenue.

The virtual meeting can be accessed on Monday, May 4 and the following Tuesday, May 12 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. via Facebook Live on the Fire District’s Facebook page (@MarionCountyFireDistrict1). Chief Kyle McMann will cover a brief presentation, and respond to questions.

The Fire District has spent the past year communicating about the need for funding to hire more emergency personnel and replace aging apparatus. If approved by voters, it anticipates that revenue also will pay higher costs associated with emergency responses for COVID-19.

Personnel costs have increased $35,000 per month to accommodate additional overtime pay and temporary hires. Costs also have skyrocketed for personal protective equipment (PPEs) for emergency personnel, disinfectant, hand sanitizers, and decontamination products because of the demand during the pandemic.

The pandemic also impacts the amount of revenue the Fire District receives. For example, it receives a fee from insurance companies, Medicare or Medicaid for ambulance transports. That revenue, which provides funding for emergency personnel, ambulances and medical equipment, is down by $45,000 year to date.

The operating levy renewal includes a 28-cent increase. If approved by voters, the levy would change from 71 to 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This increase would cost $4.67 per month (or $56 per year) for the owner of a $200,000 home.

For those unable to participate in the meeting, Chief McMann also is available to answer questions at (503) 588-6535 or kylem@mcfd1.com. In addition to these two planned meetings, Chief McMann welcomes invitations to speak to community service organizations using their virtual video or teleconference technology. More information on the operating levy request can be found on the Fire District’s website at www.mcfd1.com.