Operating Levy Increase Information

ELECTION UPDATE FROM YOUR FIRE CHIEF  – May 22, 2020

I want to thank our community for participating in the recent election to renew and increase the local option levy for Marion County Fire District #1. The results were not as we’d hoped, and we recognize this is a difficult time for many in our community.

The failure to increase the levy also means that the entire local option levy failed. This levy accounts for $2.4 million, or almost 30 percent of our property tax revenue to provide emergency services.

We will continue to provide the best level of service within a balanced budget. We also need to be transparent in letting the communities we serve know that service levels will be reduced.

Our Board of Directors will be meeting to discuss what those cuts will be. It’s going to be a difficult conversation to have with our communities, but we will keep you informed every step of the way. Please participate in these discussions. We need your help and support now more than ever.

Thank you,

Kyle McMann, Fire Chief

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Election Deadline is Coming for Marion County Fire District #1’s Operating Levy

Ballots must be received at the Marion County Elections Office or an official ballot drop site by 8 p.m. on May 19 to be counted. Voters may mail their ballot, but must do so early to ensure it is delivered in time to be counted. Ballot drop box locations can be found here: https://www.co.marion.or.us/CO/elections/Results/Pages/May-19-2020-Presidential-Primary-Election.aspx.

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Marion County Fire District #1 held two public meetings in November 2019 to share information about the challenges we are having to provide emergency service. Specifically, call volumes are continuing to increase an average of 5.3% per year and we need more personnel to respond.

Our Strategic Plan calls for hiring additional emergency personnel and replacing aging apparatus and equipment. The goal is to replace apparatus and equipment without borrowing money, which costs taxpayers more due to interest payments. Less debt makes our fire district more secure financially.

These are unprecedented times for our community, nation and world. The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has shown all of us just how critical emergency services are to the health and well-being of our families. Prior to the pandemic, the Board of Directors approved a resolution asking voters to increase our operating levy from 71 to 99 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is ballot measure 24-441 on your May 19, 2020 Primary Election ballot.

This 28-cent increase would cost $4.67 per month (or $56 per year) for the owner of a $200,000 home. This will fund two firefighter/paramedics to respond to increasing call volumes; apparatus and equipment replacement; and, now, backfill costs associated with COVID-19 for personal protective gear and temporary personnel costs.

This is not just an operating levy increase. It is a renewal of our entire operating levy, which represents almost 30 percent of our property tax revenue to respond to emergency calls. We appreciate your consideration of our request during these difficult times.

Questions about what’s on your ballot?

What’s on my ballot?
Marion County Fire District #1 is asking voters to increase its operating levy to 99 cents on the May 2020 Primary Election ballot as measure number 24-441.

Why is my fire district asking for this?
Call volumes have increased 5.3% per year on average. Additionally, 55% of our calls are overlapping, which also strains our resources. Response times are increasing because we do not have enough personnel to respond. Often, we have to rely on mutual aid from neighboring agencies, which takes longer to reach you in an emergency.

Our Strategic Plan calls for hiring additional personnel to respond to emergency calls. It also calls for setting money aside to replace apparatus and equipment. Paying cash for these items saves taxpayers money as opposed to borrowing money with interest. Less debt makes your fire district more secure financially and will help us get through the next recession.

How will the funding be used to improve service?
Our fire district plans to hire two additional firefighter/paramedics to respond to increasing call volumes, and replace emergency apparatus and medical equipment. A portion of the funding also will be used to pay costs associated with COVID-19, such as personal protective gear for firefighters, paramedics and emergency medical technicians.

How much will it cost?
The levy increase from 71 to 99 cents would cost an additional $28 per year for $100,000 of assessed property value. See our chart below for your property’s value:

Assessed Property Value Annual Cost        Monthly Cost

$100,000                                           $28                       $2.33

$200,000                                           $56                       $4.67

$300,000                                           $84                       $7.00

$400,000                                           $112                     $9.33

IN THE NEWS

Opinion Editorial – Statesman Journal – 5/4/2020

Salem Reporter – 1/23/2020

Marion County fire district to ask taxpayers for higher levy, worth $6.7 million

Who can I contact with additional questions?

Fire Chief Kyle McMann welcomes your calls or emails at (503) 588-6535 or kylem@mcfd1.com. Thank you for considering our request.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Frequently Asked Questions (click here) – Operational Levy on May 2020 Ballot

Disponible en Español  

Community Update 2020 (click here)

Facebook Live Virtual Public Meeting – May 4, 2020 6:-7:00 p.m. VIDEO: