Falls City considers fire levy

FALLS CITY — The Falls City City Council gave city staff the nod Dec. 14 to pursue putting a five-year levy on the May 2018 primary election ballot to support its fire department.

It’s estimated to cost $1.04 per $1,000 of assessed value on property and would raise about $40,000 per year, with a total of $200,000 over the life of the levy.

Money would be used to buy firefighting equipment — including breathing units required when working inside burning buildings — extrication tools and gear to use during rescues at the falls on the Little Luckiamute River.

Funding may also go toward operating expenses, saving a for new fire engine and other vehicles and station building repairs.

Acting City Manager Terry Ungricht said because contract negotiations with Southwest Polk Rural Protection District failed, some of the money from the levy may be needed for fire department operations.

“We’ve talked about wanting to have an equipment fund and stuff like that, so we can start looking to update our engines. Our one pump truck is 1965. It would be nice to update that,” Ungricht said during the council’s meeting on Dec. 14. “We’re going to need a duty rig, but those are all longer term wants, if we don’t need to use part of this levy as operating.”

The council needs to approve a resolution to place the levy on the ballot by the deadline of Feb. 24.

“This motion would instruct us to do the resolution, do the language, work with our attorney and we would have a resolution for you guys to adopt and put it onto the ballot in January,” Ungricht said.

In other business:

• Councilor Dennis Sickles thanked the community for supporting him and his family after his house burned down in November.

“It was very heartwarming. This community is a wonderful place to live,” Sickles said. “The amount of people who reached out to help and just give their well wishes, was very humbling and it made me feel really good. I appreciate this community for that. It’s a good community and when a catastrophe happens, people step up.”

• Councilor Tony Meier offered kudos to the Falls City Fire Department for its quick response to a medical emergency involving his grandson.

“In 73 years, we’ve never used the fire department. We used it a couple weeks ago when my grandson went into seizures,” Meier said.

Meier added that his grandson is OK after the incident.

“I just want to say how impressed I was with this fire department,” he said.

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