Property of Riverside Fire Authority - Centralia, WA.
Riverside Fire Authority (RFA) is seeking voter approval of a one-year excess levy for operations and equipment. These funds will purchase two new fire trucks to replace well-worn vehicles and improve fire services in the entire RFA response area. QWhere is the Riverside Fire Authority located and what services are provided?AWe are the FIRE/EMS department that protects one-third of Lewis County’s population. We serve about 24,000 residents in NW Lewis County from 2 staffed stations in Centralia and 6 volunteer stations located at Big Hanaford, Seminary Hill, Cooks Hill, Lincoln Creek, Independence and Garrard Creek Valleys. Our 22 full-time and 45 volunteer members answered 4,028 calls in 2018, that is 34% of the emergencies in Lewis County.QHow much money will be collected through this levy?AWecanacquiretwopumper/tenderswith$985,000collectedfromthislevymatchedby$150,000thatwehave saved toward their purchase. QHow much is my share of the levy?ABasedonthe2019LewisCountyAssessor’svaluationofalltaxablepropertieswithinourservicearea, approximately47cents/thousandassessedvaluationincreaseforone yearwillgeneratetheneededfunds. Yoursharedependsonthevalueofyourhomeandproperty.Asanexample,ifyouowna$200,000homeand property,thislevywouldaddapproximately$94($7.84permonth)toyourpropertytaxforone year.Thetotal cost would be approximately $141.00 ($11.75 monthly) for a home and property valued at $300,000.QWhen will the levy be collected, and for how long?AThe levy will be collected for just one year from January 1 to December 31, 2020. QHow is this a cost-effective use of the levy funds?AOnecombinationpumper/tenderreplacestwovehicles.Thisreducesouroverallpurchasecost,fleetsize,and ongoing maintenance costs.QWhy does RFA need this money?AIn2011theamountofpropertytaxescollectedfortheRFAreachedahighpoint.Thentheeconomicrecession andasignificantlossofindustryvaluesstruck.TheRFAbudgethasbeensmallereachyearsince2011now totaling reductions of more than $6,000,000,00 In example. Our 2018 budget was 18% less than in 2011. Inflation has increased by 11% since 2011. That equals a 29% drop in that year alone.Over the last 5 years we have made adjustments to operate within our means including:oeliminating 8 full-time positions, reducing our full-time firefighting work force from 30 to 22 personneloImplementing cost containment strategies addressing personnel, tools, training, and fleet-building maintenance.oSecuring non-tax revenue including grants and fees for services. We have stabilized the service programs and controlled expenses, but there are not enough dollars left over to purchase big ticket items, specifically new fire trucksQWhat is a combination pumper/tender?AIt is a fire truck designed to respond in both the City and the Country. It combines all the equipment and water carrying capacity that is needed to effectively fight fires in buildings, vehicles, grass and brush. Q Why do you need these pumper/tenders?A 1)Weneedtoreplacefiretrucksthatarenowattheendoftheir usefullives.Tenyearsago,whentheRFAwasformed,weimmediately beganeliminatingunneededduplicatedequipment.Ourgoalto“right size”thedepartmentcontinuestoday.Eachofthesenewtruckswilldo the work of two separate vehicles. 2)As our trucks wear and age, front-line vehicles move to reserve status and eventually they are retired.We now have two 41-year old fire trucks and one 33-year-old fire truck on the front lines. Our reserve fire truck is 28 years old. The main fire truck at the Pearl Street Station has cost more than $57,000 in repairs over the last 4 years. When it is frequently out of service, we must rely on the 28-year-old reserve truck. Increasing maintenance costs and poor reliability are very concerning the four trucks to be replaced add up to 143 years of service. 3)Major fires continue to plague the communities we serve. In the last 4 years RFA has responded to 144 serious fire incidents that tragically caused 4 deaths, 15 civilian injuries and more than $4,000,000 in property damage. Reliable fire trucks are key to a timely response. QHow long are these new pumper/tenders expected to serve?AWe intend to use them 25 years on the front line and 10 years in reserve.QHow many yes votes do you need for the levy to pass?AA 60-percent supermajority is required to approve this levy.QWhat happens after the vote?AWhatevertheoutcomeofthevotetheRFAwillprovidethebestpossibleserviceusingavailableresourcesinthe mostefficientmannerpossible.Respondingtoemergencieswith30-and40-year-oldtrucksincreasesthe chanceofaresponsedelayduetovehiclebreakdowns.WhentheRFArespondstoanemergencycall,morethan 35%ofthetimewearedispatchedtosecondorthirdsimultaneousemergencies.Reliabilityisessentialwhen all resources are needed at once.