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Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society

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Taxing District for Fire Protection
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Issues:  Challenges of Forming a County-WIde RFPD
Issues: The Details
Issues:  An Informed Public

 

ISSUES OF CONSEQUENCE TO ADDRESS WHEN FORMING A RFPD

I.   CHALLENGES OF FORMING A COUNTY-WIDE RFPD

Brochure 10A of 16 in Rural Fire Protection Brochure Series

June 9, 2008
by
Exploratory Committee

Issues Of Consequence

Public Involvement1 A proposal for a 21st century county-wide RFPD needs a modern public involvement effort to educate the public on the proposal to form a Mid-Rogue RFPD. Meaningful public involvement and, therefore, an "informed public" and "informed decision-makers" need relevant facts.

Issues The following issues of consequence should be addressed on the November 2008 ballot. They are not about the pros and cons, or the merits of the Josephine County Board of County Commissioner’s (BCC’s) proposed Josephine County Order No. 2008-017 to create a Mid-Rouge RFPD. They are about process issues supporting meaningful public involvement.

Question For many it appears the minimal design of the BCC’s proposed Mid-Rouge RFPD is a planned strategy to test the voter’s "needs" perception for a RFPD. This design leaves the future a mystery and avoids the hard issues relating to unique local boundaries, level or quality of service, number and location of fire stations, and tax rates.

Will voters approve the November ballot RFPD petition proposed by the BCC if it does not provide the full financial and organizational standards of disclosure that a citizen RFPD petition must provide?

Issues Of Consequence to Address When Forming a Rural Fire Protection District (RFPD The identified process issues should be addressed in the November 2008 ballot proposal to form a Mid-Rouge RFPD.

Thinking About Forming a RFPD In Josephine County?

Issue: "Unprotected Area" Is Protected There are 12 neighborhoods identified as communities at risk in the "unprotected area" of Josephine County, Oregon (2004 Josephine County Integrated Fire Plan). While these communities are listed as "unprotected" for wildfire protection, it is important to note that these neighborhoods are not without fire service. The Rural/Metro Fire Department (pps. 46-47, JCIFP, Wildfire Risk Assessment), Inland Fire Protection Agency, and the Grants Pass Rural Fire Department provide contract structural fire protection services in the county’s "unprotected area".

Issue: All RFPD’s Are Taxing Districts A "No Taxing RFPD" is a myth. All RFPD’s are taxing districts.

Issue: Unique Local RFPD Boundaries For most people, the home is one of the most important places. To the question, " In what place do you live?", the first unprompted reply will identify some territory and population near home. Oregon’s unique neighbor-hoods, geographic features, sparsely populated areas, urban interface areas, and other factors have created an expansive, varied community landscape that have not yet resulted in a desire to form a regional economy-of-scale, large county-wide RFPD. A proposed county-wide fire district is a model that has not been used in Oregon which has approximately 150 individual RFPD’s. What makes a logical boundary for a local RFPD? What is the rationale for a county-wide RFPD?

Challenges Of Forming A County-Wide RFPD: The Mid-Rogue RFPD

Issue: Boundaries, Level or Quality of Service, Number And Location Of Fire Stations, and Tax Rate Meaningful public involvement requires that relevant facts be included in the BCC’s proposal to form a Mid-Rouge RFPD. The needed facts are covered by the "citizen" petition requirements identified in the law (i.e., ORS 198.748, ORS 198.749, and ORS 198.750). These citizen requirements are not, by law, requirements of the BCC. However, they are informative and support an informed public.

Issue: Cost Versus Fire Standards For Property, Life, & Injury Fire impacts in the county, as measured by standards that are of major concern to citizens (i.e., lost of property, life, or personal injury by fire) that are different for private fire departments and RFPD’s, have not yet appeared on the radar of public debate. When compared to cost, do regulation differences between private fire departments and local RFPD’s translate into a different quality of the fire protection provided?

Quality of fire services are measured by standards such as Insurance Service Office (ISO) classifications. They could be measured by 911 calls not responded to per 1,000, number of homes lost per 1,000 homes burning, fire death rate per million population, and/or injury to neighbors (i.e., national overall injury rate is three civilian injuries per 100 residential building fires), or firefighters from fire?

Want more information? Contact a member of the Exploratory Committee.

RFPD Exploratory Committee’s Mission

Mission An independent Rural Fire Protection District (RFPD) Exploratory Committee (Exploratory Committee) to investigate the potential for forming a RFPD in the general Merlin-Hugo region was formed in the fall of 2007.

Big picture ideas for the exploratory effort include the following.

1. Identifying a range of boundaries for potential RFPD(s).

2. Identifying a range in level of services from potential RFPD(s).

3. Identifying a range of fees or assessments for services from potential RFPD(s).

4. Identifying revenues for services from potential RFPD(s).

The ultimate goal is a higher level of fire protection service for a lower cost.

The purpose of the Exploratory Committee is to gather information adequate enough to understand the rules/process to form a potential RFPD (i.e., rules, difficulty, pros and cons, levels of service, fees/assessments, elections, etc.). This includes educational outreach efforts.

The Exploratory Committee’s purpose is limited to investigating and researching the potential (i.e., merits and liabilities) for forming a RFPD. Other potential actions will be considered and acted upon by other entities after the Exploratory Committee’s purpose has ended.

- Donations Are Not Tax Deductible -

Edited by Exploratory Committee

http://www.jeffnet.org/~hugo/existing1.htm

1. More information is provided in the Exploratory Committee’s educational outreach program of 16 brochures.

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2012 Hugo Neighborhood Association & Historical Society