Tenmile Rural Fire District voters approved a property tax increase of 75 cents per $1,000 of value Tuesday. The tax will raise $70,000 a year to hire a full-time fire chief and paramedic.
The vote was 59.7% yes to 40.3% no, as reported by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office Wednesday morning.
Proponents of the measure said the firefighters responded to 200 fire and medical calls last year, 20% more calls than previously and that the tax rate had not increased in 20 years. The district has been served by volunteer firefighters and a part-time chief.
Christa Shigley, business manager and administrative assistant for the fire district, said supporters are ecstatic.
“This is definitely a wonderful step forward for our fire department. We will be able to ensure that our taxpayers are served in a way they should be served by having a full-time fire chief who’s also a paramedic,” she said.
“We’ve just had too many calls in the past where no one from our department, all volunteer, has been able to respond. So we are just so excited to have this pass,” she said.
Reedsport voters Tuesday rejected a measure to amend Section 45 of the Reedsport City Charter. The amendment would have allowed the Reedsport City Council to raise utility rates. The raise was limited to 3% annually.
Proponents said Section 45 has limited the city’s ability to keep up with rising costs for providing water, sewer and storm water services.
Voters had rejected a similar measure to allow rate increases in May by 56.9% to 43.1%. This time voters were even more emphatic, with 68% voting no, and 31.9% yes.
The May measure had been worded a bit differently. It asked, “Shall Charter be amended to allow utility rate adjustments by City Council without an election when based on annual inflation?”
The November measure asked instead, “Shall the Charter be amended to remove the restriction on utility rate adjustments not exceeding 3% annually?”