Clark County Fire District 6’s Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution asking voters to consider a fire levy lid lift as part of the Aug. 4 primary election.
If approved, the lid lift would fund additional personnel to respond to higher call volumes for fire and emergency medical service, improve firefighter training, make the district’s busiest fire station more resistant to earthquake damage, and add or replace aging apparatus, according to a news release. It would take effect in 2021.
Revenue could also backfill costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, Fire Chief Kristan Maurer said in the news release.
“We want to be clear that this funding request is not a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve had the need for additional revenue to respond to higher call volumes for years now,” Maurer said. “However, the reality of the pandemic is that we anticipate some of the funds will be used for this purpose.”
The fire district provides service to more than 37 square miles — including Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, Mount Vista, Felida and Lake Shore — and 75,000 people.
It reported a 12.9 percent increase in emergency call volumes for 2019 and a nearly 30 percent increase over the past five years.
Daily operations are currently funded through two levies paid through property taxes. The amounts are capped at the voter-approved rates of $1.50 for fire and 50 cents for EMS, per $1,000 of assessed property value.
“Over time, these levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire district to the same amount of revenue per year plus a 1 percent increase allowed by law,” the news release reads.
Voters returned the fire levy to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value through a lid lift in 2015. Since then, the fire levy has fallen to a $1.16. The increase would cost the owner of a $350,000 home an additional $9.92 per month, the news release states.