Redmond Fire & Rescue’s Board of Directors on Wednesday unanimously agreed to place a 5-year local option levy of 27¢ per $1,000 of assessed value on the May ballot.
This is the first time the District has asked voters to approve a local option levy. According to Board President Carroll Penhollow, the additional funds would be used to maintain Redmond Fire & Rescue’s current level of response to fire and medical emergencies, as well as ambulance transport. “A growing and aging population has contributed to a 34% increase in emergency calls in the last 6 years,” said Penhollow.
“Passage of the levy would help ensure that the District can continue to respond to each emergency with a minimum of two fully trained firefighters or medics at all hours of the day or night.” said Redmond Fire & Rescue Fire Chief Ken Kehmna.
The levy would also help ensure paramedic-level response to all life-threatening medical emergencies.
“Paramedics with Advanced Life Support skills are able to provide procedures on scene that were once only available in emergency rooms,” Kehmna said. “The proposed local option levy would help ensure that we are able to send paramedics with these skills to all life-threatening emergencies.”
Eighty-five percent of all calls for service are medical emergencies and, in addition to helping guarantee that all medical calls are responded to by a team of at least two medics, the levy would help ensure District medical responders are supplied with up-to-date equipment such as cardiac defibrillators, chest compression systems, and other life-support equipment that can substantially improve patient survival rates.
The levy would also allow the District to replace out-of-date thermal imagers and expiring breathing apparatus used by firefighters to enter burning structures to fight fire and save lives.
According to Kehmna, if the levy is not approved, the District may need to reduce medic positions, resulting in the elimination of one of the five ambulance teams that currently serve the District each day, or make other operational changes that could delay response time.
Without these additional medics, life-saving action at medical emergencies and fires would be delayed.
The inability to maintain staffing with the current tax revenue is a result of inflation and increasing operational costs.
The cost to the individual property owner of the local option levy would vary depending on the tax assessed value (not market value) of their property.
For residential property with a tax assessed value of $200,000, about average for residential property in the District, the cost of a 27¢ local option levy would be $54.00 per year or $4.50 per mo