Q&A Session Scheduled For July 21; Open House Scheduled For July 23
Benton County Fire District #4 and its Board of Fire Commissioners invite community members to learn more about the lid lift for emergency medical services that will be on the August 2, 2022 Primary Election ballot.
Fire District officials will host two opportunities for community members to ask questions about the August 2 ballot measure:
- Q&A Session: July 21 (Thursday) at 6 p.m. at the Board of Fire Commissioners meeting at Station 420 located at 2604 Bombing Range Road. Community members will have the opportunity to ask questions during the question and answer portion of the meeting.
- Open House: July 23 (Saturday) from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at Station 430 located at 8031 Keene Road. Community members can stop by the fire station and learn more about the EMS levy lid lift and bring children for a fun day out, too:
- Tour the station and fire trucks
- See and learn about the tools and equipment that emergency personnel use to train and save lives
- Face painting, goodies, prize wheel and fire hose spray station for kids
- Commissioner’s table where you can meet fire officials, including the fire chief, and get your questions answered about the lid lift
“Community support is important to maintain these vital services, and I encourage everyone to attend one or both of these events to learn more about our EMS services and why the lid lift is on the ballot,” Fire Chief Paul Carlyle said.
Lid lift would fund additional emergency personnel to respond to higher EMS call volumes
All emergency call volumes were up 22% in 2021 compared to the year before. EMS accounted for 62% of all calls the agency received last year.
Voters approved an EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2016. Levy rates fall as property values rise to limit a fire district to roughly the same amount of revenue per year plus a one percent increase allowed by law. This has caused the fire district’s levy rate to fall to $0.35 per $1,000. EMS call volumes have increased 42% in the same time period.
“Call volumes actually increase for accidental fires and medical emergencies in difficult economic times. People are distracted due to stress and uncertainty, which causes accidents and medical emergencies such as strokes and heart attacks,” Chief Carlyle said. “The amount of the lid lift is the same, but call volumes will be higher than anticipated.”
Funding from the levy would be used to hire three additional firefighter/paramedics and emergency medical technicians to respond to emergency calls. This would put another medical unit in service and aid in responding to overlapping calls, which are increasing. If approved, the 15-cent lid lift would cost an additional $52.50 per year ($4.38 per month) for the owner of a home with an assessed value of $350,000.