Douglas County fire district needs residents to pay taxes

Fire officials said some residents haven't opted in to pay the necessary taxes for their fire services, leaving them with less than adequate funding.

Posted: Jul 27, 2018 6:35 PM
Updated: Jul 27, 2018 6:37 PM

DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ore. -- Douglas County Fire District Two is looking to bring two measures to the May 2019 ballot to help them collect the taxes they need.

Fire District Two has been providing specialty services to the county for several decades, including a steep-angle rescue team and most recently a tactical medical unit. But until everyone in their fire district boundary starts paying taxes to the fire district, those services could continue to suffer.

Douglas County Fire Chief Rob Bullock said somewhere along the line, people found a loophole to avoid paying taxes to the fire district.
Chief Bullock said that lack of income is taking a hard hit on Douglas County Fire District Two.

“There’s two ways for us to continue doing what we’re doing,” Bullock said. “That’s to reduce what we spend or increase what we bring in.”

They’ve already started cutting back on some services.

Their tactical medical unit has basically had to stop operations, and their steep-angle team could be next.

Dixonville resident Gary Kinnett said he pays taxes to the fire district and that everyone needs to step up.

“If they can’t afford it, that’s another story, another reason,” Kinnett said. “But if we’re here, we need to belly up to the bar, babe, and take care of our needs.”

It’s people of all income levels that haven’t signed up to pay the $3.46 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

Chief Bullock said they need everyone they serve to do their part.

“To say it’s just the wealthy, it’s not,” Bullock said. “We’re just trying to get everyone to pay their fair share for the service they’re getting because it’s not right that one person is paying and the other guy is getting it for free.”

Chief Bullock said the two measures they hope to get on the May 2019 ballot would get everyone in their district to start paying those taxes and any new homes in their district to start paying those taxes as well.

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