by Richard Uhlhorn
Citizens for Chelan Fire and Rescue held a kickoff meeting for the upcoming Proposition 1 Levy Lid Lift for the District in November at the Chelan Library on Wednesday, July 14.
Steve Clark, a Chelan resident who became involved in the District’s ad hoc committee to discuss and learn about the District’s needs, told the 25+ people in attendance that the meeting is not about politics, but a sharing of information to potential influencers about the levy.
Clark related his feelings that the community within the District is at risk for fire which is one reason he became involved.
Bill Bassett stated that the Lid Lift was for an increase of $.30 per thousand. “It will not be higher than $1.10 per $1000 of assessed value,” said Bassett. “As members of the committee we got a two month crash course in our fire department,” said Bassett. “Demand for services are outstripping our ability to serve. The department has had a 21 percent increase serving its 120 square mile district.”
Currently, the District collects $.80 cents/$1000. “If we don’t pass this levy, the level of service won’t be there.”
John Corbin, who is a retired 31 year veteran of the fire services, said, “We are not adequately protected. We need appropriate staffing.” Relating his year’s of fire experience, Corbin added, “When you see guys like us getting involved, it’s like a shot across the bow.” At the present level of service, Corbin said that the demand is not sustainable. “We are playing with fire right now, pun not intended.”
Corbin said he has always hated scare tactics and never votes for initiatives that ask for money, but strongly stated that this District needs to increase staffing to stay sustainable for the residents. “We want your support as influencers,” said Corbin.
The Levy Lid Lift proposition, if passed by the voters, will carry the Fire District for the next 10 years.
The funds generated by the levy increase will be used to:
- Make sure there is an appropriate balance of firefighting and emergency staff, including career, stipend, seasonal, and volunteer personnel.
- Keep the current equipment and fire vehicles in good condition to deliver rapid responses to emergencies.
- Support the long-term plan to replace aging equipment and fire vehicles in a fiscally conservative manner.
- Fund other capital and operational expenses needed over the next decade.
So what does that increase mean to the property owner in actual dollars.
A property value of $250,000 would see an increase of $6.29 per month or $275 per year;
$350,000 would see an increase of $8.80 per month or $385 total per year; $450,000, $11.33 per month/$495 per year; $500,000, $12.58 per month/$550.00 per year; and $650,000, $16.36 per month/$715.00 per year.
The Citizens of Chelan Fire and Rescue are just beginning to get started on a campaign to get Proposition 1 passed on November 2. They will be holding or conducting presentations up until the election. If you have a question or are interested in becoming involved, email crfCitizens4.email@example.com