Against the Keizer Fire levy

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 To the Editor:

I just received my property tax statement from Marion County.  Despite the dismal economy, my overall taxes went up 12 percent from last year.  I am surprised by the increase but will continue to pay my taxes in a timely manner.

The Keizer Fire District wants to increase their operations levy by an astounding 69 percent.  I believe that is too large of an increase, especially after reviewing my property tax statement.

There are some in Keizer who believe that the two fire districts in our community already work close enough together. I recall recent battles where the Keizer Fire District became incensed when Marion County Fire District ambulances made service calls in what Keizer Fire believed to be their area.  The battle started by the Keizer Fire District resulted in ballot measures that epicly failed and also wasted precious monies spent on attorney fees when the two fire districts sued each other.   And the battle between the two fire district administrations continues today.  This is not supposition.  This is fact.

Thankfully, I understand that when there is a major incident in the Keizer area, neither district hesitates to respond.  That is the nature of the individual firefighters and first-responders who choose to protect us.  It’s the administrations of the two fire districts that need to do a better job of working together.   Like it or not, there are two fire stations in Keizer.  Coordinating efforts between the two districts to gain maximum efficiency from the resources located in Keizer is long overdue!

An increase of 12 percent in my taxes this year is enough.  The taxpayers are not ATMs.  I cannot support an additional increase of 69 percent in the Keizer Fire District tax levy.

Gretchen McKane
Keizer

 

To the Editor:

Good grief, here we go again. First it was annexation: failed, then the 911 fee:  failed. Now this. And apparently the civic leaders in Keizer still are not interested in hearing everyone’s opinion, especially if it differs from theirs.  When one person suggests that the emergency service providers in our area should work together to find efficiencies and save the taxpayer money it’s responded to by statements such as, “The author of the letter must be ignorant…”  Really?

How well do Keizer Fire and Marion County Fire work together?  Less than two years ago both were embroiled in a legal battle costing taxpayers well over half a million dollars.  Nobody knows for sure how much was spent but most believe the combined cost approached $1 million—$1 million dollars of taxpayer money spent fighting over tax money.  Is that what you call working together?

Like it or not the city of Keizer has two fire stations.  One is Keizer Fire, the other Marion County Fire.  Do we need two administrations as well?  Are there any efficiencies possible at all by working together?

It’s time to look at all solutions for the high cost of providing public services to our community.  Going to the taxpayer for more money should be the last option.  Has Keizer Fire talked with Marion County Fire and discussed how the two fire stations in Keizer can work together?  Or perhaps share resources that benefit both departments?  The answer is no.  Instead of working together the fight continues over whose equipment can go where in Keizer.  Don’t believe me?  Do as a previous writer suggests and call both Keizer Fire and Marion County Fire and ask how well the administrations of both departments work together.

A letter to the editor in last week’s Keizertimes stated that Keizer Fire responds to emergencies within six minutes 95 percent of the time.  I personally do not see anything meritous about that response time.  I live in north Keizer.  I can get anywhere—yes anywhere—in Keizer in less than six minutes, and I don’t have the benefit of traffic moving over for me.

I, too, want to support my fire department.  I am simply asking them to investigate all possible solutions to their revenue problems before they come ask me for more money.  An increase of 70 percent seems extreme, considering it’s to maintain only the same level of service.

David Fifer
Keizer

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