News

Under fire

Residents of Fire District No. 38 aren't paying an equal share of fire protection costs. They are served by the same fire station that serves North Bend but pay significantly less per $1,000 of assessed property value than city residents.

Fire district commissioners are asking voters to support a property tax increase of 27 cents per $1,000 assessed value that would restore the $1 tax rate adopted in 1990. For the $380,000 average home in the district, the increase amounts to $120 in a year. North Bend residents pay the equivalent of $1.20 per $1,000 assessed property value. Unlike a fire district, which raises money by a fire levy, the city pays for fire protection from its general fund, which comes from a property tax, sales tax and other taxes.

But the levy on the Feb. 6 ballot is about more than fairness, it's about maintaining quality fire protection, supporters said.

"Support it or lose it," urged Dave Battey, chair of the citizen's group Save Our Fire Services, formed last fall to support the levy.

He and other levy supporters said the fire district is in danger of losing its current level of fire service if voters don't authorize the levy hike.

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