Emergency Services Funding – Fire District 3 provides fire, rescue and emergency medical service (EMS) 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Of the more than 7,000 calls for service per year, more than 85% of these are EMS-related. The District’s emergency responders are all cross-trained to provide both fire and EMS to the estimated 34,000 citizens who live and work within the 142 square mile service area.
The Fire District relies on two property tax levies to fund emergency services – a general levy that provides nearly 75% of all revenue and an EMS levy that provides the remaining 25%. With 85% of the community’s calls for service being EMS, the Fire District relies on the general levy to fund EMS care.
Over time, these levy rates fall as property values rise, which limits the Fire District to roughly the same amount of revenue per year plus a 1% increase allowed by law. The 1% increase in revenue is not keeping up with the cost to provide service due to inflation and increasing call volumes (27.4% in the last five years).
Voters originally approved a general levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2004. Since that time, it has fallen to $1.26. The Fire District likely will ask voters to return the general levy to $1.50 sometime in 2018. If approved, the 24-cent lid lift would be an additional $60 per year ($5 per month) for the owner of a $250,000 home. Funding would be used to maintain emergency service levels, improve staffing as we are able, train personnel, and fund reserves for facility and apparatus needs.