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A local option levy is a funding option that must be approved by voters. It is a type of tax imposed to fund specific projects, programs, or services. The tax rate is determined based on assessed property values within the Fire District’s taxing authority.
Local option levies can last for up to five years before expiration and then voters must approve a renewal or a new levy.
Redmond Fire & Rescue is asking voters to consider a five-year local option levy replacement. If passed, the levy would replace the current five-year local option levy that expires in June 2025.
Redmond Fire & Rescue provides fire suppression coverage to 133 square miles and ambulance coverage to 294 square miles of Redmond, Cline Falls, Eagle Crest, Terrebonne, and unincorporated Deschutes, Jefferson, and Crook counties. Demand for emergency services is growing, with more than 7,100 calls in 2022. The Fire District has experienced a 68% increase in call volume and approximately a 26% increase in population over the past 10 years.
To keep up with the increased demand for services, Redmond Fire & Rescue is proposing to replace the current local option levy, approved by voters in 2020. Funding from the proposed local option levy will be used to hire additional Firefighter/Paramedics which will allow for faster, more effective, and more efficient emergency response.
Redmond Fire & Rescue will use funding from the local option levy to hire additional Firefighter/Paramedics.
Increased staffing will allow firefighters to staff two emergency response vehicles simultaneously. Currently, firefighters must choose whether to take a fire engine or an ambulance to an emergency. Incidents such as motor vehicle accidents, rescues, and structure fires often require more than one type of emergency response vehicle.
Increased staffing will also allow us to staff three firefighters on an engine at our Headquarters station. This will bring Engine 421 closer to nationally recognized safe staffing standards.
Oregon State Law 437-002-0182 Oregon Rules for Firefighters and OSHA Standard 1910.134 require that whenever firefighters enter a burning building, there should always be at least two firefighters working together as a team inside, while two firefighters remain outside, ready to assist if needed.
Often referred to as “2-in-2-out,” the standard is in place to enhance firefighter safety during operations. It helps ensure that no firefighter works alone inside a hazardous environment, reducing the risk of accidents, injuries, or getting trapped. By having a team inside and a team outside, there is better coordination and support in case of emergencies, making firefighting operations safer and more effective.
Additionally, funding from the local option levy will be used to enhance recruitment programs and retention of current firefighter/paramedics.
If the local option levy does not pass, the additional Firefighter/Paramedic positions will not be filled and response times will continue to increase. As the Fire District’s population continues to grow, Redmond Fire & Rescue will not be able to keep up with the demand for emergency services and will need to seek additional funding measures or change the way services are delivered.
If passed, the levy will replace the current five-year local option levy that expires in June 2025 and will collect a fixed rate of $0.75 per $1,000 of assessed value.
In 2023, homeowners with an assessed home value of $200,000 would pay $94 more per year, or $7.83 more per month for improved 24/7 emergency services.
In addition, increased staffing directly impacts the fire district’s ISO rating which directly influences homeowners’ insurance premiums. Thank you, citizens, for approving the local option levy in 2020. The improvements that we made under the current levy will cause our ISO rating to improve from 3 to 2 during our next re-rate.
Assessed value and market value are both terms used in real estate and property valuation, but they refer to different concepts and are calculated through different methods.
Assessed value is the value assigned to a property by local government assessors for the purpose of calculating property taxes. Assessors consider various factors, including the property's size, location, age, and condition. This value is used to determine your property tax bill, which funds essential community services like the fire department, schools, and public infrastructure. The amount residents pay to Redmond Fire & Rescue through property tax levies is calculated using assessed value.
Market value, on the other hand, is the price a willing buyer and seller would agree upon in an open and competitive real estate market. It's influenced by factors like current market trends, demand, supply, and the property's features.
For more information or to request a presentation from the Fire Chief, please email LevyInfo@rdmfire.org.