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Grant funding that supports four full-time firefighter/emergency medical technicians in the central-county fire district is set to expire next year.
A proposed levy lid lift would keep the personnel in place, Chief Sam Phillips said.
District commissioners will discuss placing the measure on the November ballot when they meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
The meeting, in which the public is invited to make comments, will be at the district administrative offices at 102 E. Fifth St.
All communication will be shared with the fire district commissioners and become part of the public record.
The levy lid lift would add 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or $6.50 per month for the owner of a $200,000 home, to the present levy of 76 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for a total of $1.15 per $1,000.
The present rate of 76 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation is the lowest levy rate of any fire district in Clallam County, Phillips said.
The additional amount would be collected in 2014 if the measure is put on the general election ballot and approved by voters in November.
Maintain current levels
The funds would maintain current emergency service levels, paying for wages, safety gear, training and some overtime for the four full-time firefighters/EMTs.
“We applied for the grant two years ago because our volunteer firefighters were burned out and leaving the department,” Phillips said.
“With 40 volunteers and 1,000 emergency calls a year, response times had spiked to 30 minutes in some situations,” Phillips said.
Such a long response time was not the norm, but it was still “not acceptable,” Phillips said.
Grant funding for full-time firefighters lowered response times, Phillips added.
It enabled the district to have fire station staffing Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is the peak time for fire calls, he said.
“We need a balance of volunteer and full-time firefighters to provide an adequate emergency response for our community,” Phillips said.
“We can't save lives and property with 30-minute emergency-response times.”
Fire District No. 2 provides fire suppression and emergency medical service to 9,500 people over 85 square miles outside the city of Port Angeles.
Fire District No. 2 is debt-free, operates under a balanced budget and has the lowest tax rate of any fire district in the county, Phillips said.
The public is invited to share their thoughts at the Tuesday meeting.
Those unable to attend may contact Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-417-4790.