I am a Keizer resident and very concerned about this annexation issue. I have been around the Keizer Fire District my entire life and I am writing this letter in support of the annexation of the Clear Lake area to the Keizer Fire Department. Keizer Fire District is a department filled with people of compassion, honesty and integrity. The entire KFD cares a great deal, not only about Keizer and its citizens, but about all of the Salem and surrounding areas. Each and every employee of KFD would help out anyone, from any agency, at any time.
I have a few points to make concerning this election.
Point one: The annexation of the Clear Lake area was brought to the fore by two Clear Lake Home owners’ association requests for Keizer Fire to be their fire district. That point seems to be being overlooked by both fire departments. I acknowledge that one of the associations has withdrawn their support however that occurred very recently and very late in the game.
Point two: Marion County Fire District has said they will need to lay-off 20 staff if Keizer obtains Clear Lake. Perhaps MCFD should look at their budget. In looking over the minutes of MCFD, I ran across minutes dated Sept. 15, 2010 concerning the fiscal year 2011-12. I would encourage citizens to follow this link to the minutes and read ‘New Business’ paragraph 3. (http://www.wvfra.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/MCFD1-2010.09.15-Minutes.pdf) Please make note after reading this that Marion County currently is, and has been for some time, aware of their budget deficit. Blaming KFD (for actually responding to the written requests of its citizens) seems to be just a diversion at this point for MCFD. In Sept. 2010, the blame was on City of Salem as you will read in the above article via the link. MCFD has known they have a funding issue for quite some time. If you follow the link, I think you may come to the same conclusion.
My last point is this, if MCFD were as concerned with the citizens of Clear Lake as they say they are, why then do they continue to increase their legal fee budget each fiscal year. Wouldn’t it be better spent on equipment or training. I think it might behoove anyone interested to ask to see a line item of the budget for ALL legal fees over the last two to three years. In looking over the MCFD minutes, I noticed a citizen asked to see their legal fee budget and questioned where the money came from and exactly where it went. After reading a few months of minutes, I came to the conclusion that MCFD tried to muddy the waters and not give an accurate accounting of the legal fees and where that portion of their budget went. I believe their response skirted the actual questions this citizen went to the Board meeting to ask. It is my understanding that the MCFD budget for 2008 and 2009 legal fees was $54,640.00. In 2009-2010, it is my understanding that the legal fee budget jumped to $275,026.00. In 2010-2011, it is my understanding, that it was a projected reduction to a smaller sum, it was only $250,000.00. Perhaps the citizens of Marion County Fire District should be asking where all that money is going and for what reason. Perhaps then MCFD could retain 20 staff personnel.
Please vote yes on both sides of your ballot. Keizer is a great city to live it and having unity will only make it better.
Karen Anderegg Van Meter
Currently, the people who live in the Clear Lake area of Keizer pay approximately $500,000 in taxes to Marion County Fire District #1. My question is: Do they receive $500,000 worth of service or do they subsidize the rest of the district and to what extent?
I heard testimony at city council meetings from people who live outside of the Clear Lake area who wanted to maintain the current system because, I assume, they like the subsidy. I recall some folks were from Turner and several who live north of the city limits. It would be interesting to see how many people who write letters to the editor actually live within the Clear Lake area. It has been reported the average saving per household in the Clear Lake area will be $90 per year if the Keizer Fire District is allowed to annex. That amounts to $90,000 per year and that is a nice saving.