Failure to pass Ore. ambulance district tax levy may result in agency staff cuts

The Western Lane Ambulance District employs 15 paramedics, but if the November 2 measure fails, jobs may be cut


Louis Krauss
The Register-Guard

FLORENCE, Ore. — Residents of the Western Lane Ambulance District will get a chance to vote on a renewed five-year levy to maintain the district's current staffing and service levels in a special election Nov. 2.

The levy for the ambulance district is the only measure currently on the November ballot. The ambulance district covers 564 square miles, including the Siuslaw and Mapleton fire districts, and surrounding areas up and down the coast. It provides emergency medical service to more than 20,000 residents.

The Western Lane Ambulance District levy is up for a vote on Nov. 2.
The Western Lane Ambulance District levy is up for a vote on Nov. 2. (Photo/MCT)

The district employs 15 paramedics who operate three ambulances at all times for emergency treatment and transportation to hospitals.

If approved by voters, Measure 20-322 would renew the tax, which has cost district residents $0.45 per $1,000 of assessed property value since it was created in 2012. The tax would cost the median-value household an estimated $8 per month, according to the measure description.

That tax is expected to generate $1,006,545 in the 2022-23 fiscal year, and $5,397,562 total over five years.

If the measure fails and expires in 2022, it would likely lead to staffing cuts, according to the district's Fire and EMS Chief Michael Schick. He stressed the importance of passing the renewed tax so the district can maintain a sufficient level of EMS services.

"It would be tough," Schick said when asked about if the measure failed. "I think it would definitely be in personnel would be the only place that we could make a significant impact. So it would definitely lower our level of service."

The measure makes up roughly a quarter of the district's budget, Schick said.

Since the tax was implemented, call volumes and operation costs have increased "significantly," according to the description provided to voters, and state property tax limits have restricted revenue growth.

The voter registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 12, and ballots are mailed out and drop sites open on Oct. 14. before Election Day, Nov. 2.

Schick said anyone with questions about the district or the levy are welcome to call him at the main phone line: 541-997-3212. More information, budget breakdowns and more are available at westernlaneambulance.com.

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©2021 www.registerguard.com. 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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