Orcas Fire Levy lid lift approved

Orcas Island voters approved a 10-year levy lid lift for Orcas Island Fire and Rescue by a vote of 1,332 (62 percent) to 813 (38 percent).

There are 3,818 registered voters in the district, 2,145 cast ballots, a turnout of 56 percent.

According to the fire department the approval means OIFR can:

Maintain  current levels of service for EMS, Fire, Rescue, and Public Education

Maintain or replace as needed current vehicles with no expansion

Maintain  current facilities with no expansion

Address OIFR Ten Year Financial Projection

Address the priorities in the OIFR Strategic Plan

The levy lid lift will generate $2,042,599.37 with a rate of $1.0513 per thousand dollars of assessed value in its final year. The 2014 OIFR Operating Budget (fuel, electricity, supplies, wages, benefits) is $1,687,441. The 2014 capital budget (building maintenance, equipment replacement, apparatus refurbish/replacement) is $259,816.

The remainder of funds generated by the levy will be used to manage cash flow and prepare for unforeseen emergency events.

The  levy lid increase approved by the voters on April 22 replaces one that began in 1999.  According to OIFR, that special levy lid lift enabled OIFR to improve the level of service to the community of fire protection, rescue, EMS, and public information. It also funded the following improvements:

All OIFR maintenance and operations

Improved response times - 24 Hour Paramedic/Duty Officer Staffing

The construction of Eastsound Station 21 and Deer Harbor Station 24

The purchase of Westsound Station 22

Volunteer benefits to assure recruitment and retention of volunteer responders

The purchase of new EMS, Rescue and Fire vehicles

If the lid lift had been turned down by voters,  the levy would have been approximately  $914,344.

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