(Update: Adding video, comments from Fire Chief Pat Dale)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) — Redmond Fire & Rescue has laid out details for the public of its proposed five-year local option levy on the November ballot, aimed at enhancing the fire district's capabilities and improving emergency response services.
The proposed levy on the Nov. 7 ballot looks to collect $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed value from Redmond residents, an increase from the current 27-cent per $1,000 rate, Fire Chief Pat Dale told us Friday.
If approved, the new levy would replace the current one, which is set to expire in June 2025.
"So over the last 10 years, in our fire district, we've seen an 26% increase in our population. Over those same 10 years, we've seen a 68% percent increase in call volume" Dale explained.
Homeowners with an assessed home value of $200,000 would pay about $94 more per year, which translates to $7.83 more per month. (Note that assessed home value is different from market value and is solely used for tax assessments.)
Redmond Fire currently employs nearly 70 staff members that serve the Redmond, Terrebonne, Cline Falls and Eagle Crest Resort areas.
The department expects to hire as many as a dozen new firefighters and paramedics, if the new levy passes.
The new hires would aim to eliminate an issue the fire department has run into before.
"Something we do is called cross-staffing, where we cross staff this medic unit with this fire engine," Dale explained. "Three people, when a call comes in, have to decide: Are they going to take the ambulance or fire truck?"
Once ballots are mailed, Redmond residents will have until Nov. 7 to vote on the fire levy. If they do decide to pass it, the new levy go into effect on July 1st, 2024.
Here are additional details of the proposed larger levy, as presented by the department:
The proposed levy on the November ballot, which will collect $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed value, is a critical step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of the Redmond community.
The growth in our fire district necessitates a strategic investment in our firefighting and emergency response capabilities. This levy will have a direct impact on our ability to provide timely, effective, and efficient services to our residents. The funding generated by the levy will be used for several key initiatives:
Hiring Additional Firefighter/Paramedics: The levy will enable us to recruit and retain additional firefighter/paramedics, strengthening our workforce and ensuring we have the skilled personnel needed to respond to emergencies effectively.
Enhancing Recruitment and Retention Programs: We are committed to fostering a supportive environment for our current firefighter/paramedics. The levy will allow us to invest in programs that attract and retain top talent in our department.
Improving Response Reliability: By increasing our staffing levels, we can enhance our response reliability, reducing emergency response times, and providing quicker assistance to those in need.
Reducing Cross-Staffing: The levy will reduce the need for cross-staffing, allowing our responders to simultaneously staff both a fire engine and ambulance. This streamlines our operations and ensures that we can deploy the necessary resources for different types of emergencies.
Enhancing Firefighter Safety: Increasing staffing levels to three firefighter/paramedics on fire engines significantly improves the safety of our personnel when responding to emergency incidents.
For homeowners, the impact of this levy is as follows:
The approval of this levy will replace the existing local option, and property owners subject to the levy will experience the rate increase in their July 2024 property tax bill.
"Redmond Fire & Rescue is dedicated to serving our community, and this levy is a vital step towards ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents," said Fire Chief Pat Dale. "We encourage our community members to consider this levy, which will enable us to provide even better emergency services and support our growing community."
For more information about the proposed local option levy and its impact, please visit https://www.rdmfire.org/242/Local-Option-Levy.