Deschutes County voters will have several decisions to make in November’s upcoming special election. One item on the ballot in Redmond is a fire levy meant to improve response times for Redmond Fire and Rescue.
The Redmond Fire District says it has been struggling to keep up with population growth for years.
“I would describe the growth of this area to be explosive. And we’ve fallen behind in our staffing to keep up with that demand for service,” Redmond Fire and Rescue Fire Chief Pat Dale said.
The department serves nearly 47,500 people. Last year, the fire district responded to more than 7,126 emergency calls.
Dale says the increasing demand for service coupled with the staffing shortage is heavily impacting response times.
“The goal for us is 4-8 minutes and we’re exceeding that by a large percentage of the time right now. By adding staffing, which is what this levy will do. The levy is intended to add firefighter paramedics and address recruitment and retention,” Dale said.
The levy would collect 75 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. In other words, homeowners of a home with an assessed value of $400,000 would pay $188 more per year.
Voters have mixed opinions.
“I think having the emergency response time or having them there is definitely worth it,” Redmond local Sonny Downs said.
“Every year, the fire department, the police department and city government — they’re always after more money. It doesn’t make any difference. You could give them whatever they wanted last year, they’ll be right back again for it next year. No, I wont vote for it,” Redmond local Fred Huft said.
Ballots must be filled out, sealed and dropped off at official ballot drop sites by 8 p.m. on November 7.