As of Wednesday, February 7, 2018
Once again, one of our local governmental boards is considering a levy. The Polk County Fire District No. 1 board of directors discussed renewing the 19-cents per $1,000 after press time at its Tuesday meeting. The fire district would use the levy dollars to continue to pay for operations, including hiring a part-time fire marshal to ensure the district was represented at development meetings.
One of the options in front of the board was asking voters to increase the levy to 28 cents. The board — for the most part — was adamantly against asking for more. The majority of board members did not want to increase taxes for residents in the district.
We appreciate the frugal nature of this board — in fact, most of our governing agencies are very cautious and fiscally responsible, most of the time.
However, just as we were disappointed that the Falls City City Council chose not to ask residents to support the Wagner Community Library through increased taxes, we are disappointed that the Polk No. 1 board did not get the community more involved in making the decision on whether or not to raise taxes.
With the current rate of 19 cents, the district will be able to achieve many of its goals, but one thing may lay by the wayside — the ladder truck.
The ladder truck is, by far, the most expensive apparatus the fire district owns. It’s nearing the end of its life and will cost a pretty penny to replace.
It was originally purchased to battle fires at Western Oregon University, and is still needed for fighting fires in structures that are three stories or more — which will include the new hotel at Independence Landing.
We understand the fear of asking for more and having voters say no, leaving the district without any additional help. But we wish the board would have asked the community for more input than a scheduled work session in January.