The Yachats Rural Fire Protection District will be standing on the side lines through the summer, waiting to ask fire district taxpayers to vote “Yes” this November. The district says it will campaign harder and longer so that the November 8th ballot might be more friendly with what’s being asked for – namely extra tax revenue. It seems it’s the only way the fire district can get back to being able to use community tax money and not have to borrow money to make ends meet.
According to the Yachats Fire Board operating costs have risen in part due to some prior financial shortfalls. The Fire Board has been forced to borrow money throughout the year to operate and pay off some debt at the end of the year when it receives its annual tax funding from Salem.
To avoid future debt cycles the Fire Board decided to ask the fire district taxpayers if they’d go along with a tax increase. The Yachats voters turned them thumbs down.
Reports say that if Yachats Fire can’t get a new levy passed by November 2022, the district will need to reduce services which might mean they’ll only have a single person on staff at a time and may even lose services for certain hours of the day.
One firefighter said “If we don’t get a new levy passed, then we’ll have to start cutting back services, and we’ll have to work with the fire chief to determine the best way to do that.” They said there may be no service at all for local citizens at certain times, so they know why we need this levy.”
There’s been a lot of thinking and back-and-forth among the fire district and the public as how to come to grips with the department’s financial capabilities. And since they’re still struggling to climb out of the “Covid plague” (like the rest of us) a November ballot issue may be a long shot.
Yachats Fire provides fire, rescue and medical services from the south boundary of Waldport down to the county line, as well as extending 10 miles east up the Yachats River Valley.