brg_admin | Aug 1, 2019 | 0
TVF&R seeks levy renewal to maintain emergency response personnel and services Look for Measure 34-286 on the May ballot
Voters will decide in the May 21 election whether to renew Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s local option levy to maintain emergency response services and personnel hired since 2000.
Measure 34-286 proposes a renewal of TVF&R’s existing levy rate at 45 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation for five more years. The current levy expires in June 2020. Under Oregon law, levies expire in five years or less and require voter approval for renewal.
For property assessed at $300,000, about the average in TVF&R’s service area, the cost of the local option levy would be about $135 per year or about $11.25 a month.
If the levy renewal does not pass, funding that pays for at least 92 of 432 TVF&R firefighters and paramedics would be lost.
If the levy passes, levy funds will maintain firefighter, paramedic, and some staff positions that support operations. Levy funding will also be used to purchase land for future fire stations, fire hose, firefighting tools, and medical equipment to ensure effective emergency response.
TVF&R voters first approved a 25-cent per $1,000 assessed valuation local option levy in 2000 and renewed it in 2004 and 2008. In 2014, voters approved a replacement levy with a rate of 45 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation. The 2014 replacement levy provides 22 percent of the fire district’s funding.
TVF&R used the levy funds approved by voters in 2014 to:
- Retain 42 levy-funded firefighters and hired additional firefighters, paramedics, and personnel who support TVF&R’s operations.
- Purchase two fire engines, one tiller truck, two medic/rescue units, one response car, one rescue boat, five fire investigator vehicles, and command vehicles.
- Construct one new fire station with a second station in progress.
- Acquire land for five fire stations.
- Help fund the seismic upgrade and remodel of three existing fire stations to ensure crews could respond following an earthquake.
- Acquire equipment such as fire hose, breathing apparatus, and medical kits.
Thanks to community support, TVF&R has been able to make investments that help ensure its ability to provide fast and effective emergency response with new station construction, four-person crews, alternative response vehicles, improved equipment, and community risk-reduction efforts.
While the district has made strides to reduce response times and improve outcomes, increasing call volume, traffic congestion, and development remain challenging.
If the levy is not renewed at the existing rate before it expires in June 2020, reductions in staffing and operations will be required.
If approved, the levy renewal would appear on the November 2020 property tax statement at the same rate of 45 cents per $1,000 AV and be identical to what currently appears on individual tax bills.
For more information or to schedule a presentation, call Public Affairs Chief Cassandra Ulven at 503-649-8577.