By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
When ballots for the Nov. 5 election day start arriving in mailboxes Keizer residents will find only one local issue needing their input.
In August, the Keizer Fire Board unanimously approved sending a 59-cent per $1,000 local option levy to district voters. The levy is an increase from the 35-cent rate that will expire this year.
Last week, Chief Jeff Cowan and and Joe Van Meter, a director on the fire board, were making the rounds and making their case for the costlier levy.
“If we do nothing ambulance service goes away. If we keep the rate the same, costs continue to go up and we would have to lay off personnel and reduce service to one ambulance. A 49-cent levy would allow us to maintain current levels of service. The 59-cent levy allows us to staff a second ambulance 24 hours a day and we can maintain a response time within six minutes of a call,” Cowan told the directors of the West Keizer Neighborhood Association.
District officials convened a citizen advisory committee earlier this year that looked at the numbers and recommended moving forward with the 59-cent rate. Polling conducted in June signaled support from Keizer voters.
“We are proud of the response in less than six minutes 95 percent of the time. There’s no one close by us that can do that,” said Van Meter at the same meeting. “In six minutes, your brain cells start to die. That’s also when fire starts to explode.”
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