By GREG EGO
Keizer Fire District has fielded many calls from district residents asking about the financial impact the proposed operational levy will have on their households. The purpose of the operational levy is to provide Keizer Fire District residents with a second full-time ambulance, maintain response times of six minutes or less, and offset the expense of 9-1-1 dispatching to the fire district’s operating budget.
The dollar amount property owners pay is established by the Marion County Assessor’s Office. Per a local realtor, the average home sale price in Keizer is $193,041. The tax assessed value is usually lower than the market value. To find the tax assessed value of your home, look for the property tax statement that should have been recently delivered to your home or you could call the Marion County Assessor’s Office.
For simplicity and to work in round numbers, let’s assume a home has a tax assessed value of $170,000. The current Keizer Fire levy rate is 35 cents. The proposed rate increase is 24 cents more, for a new rate of 59 cents. The amount that is to be paid is figured at 59 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value.
The current rate for a $170,000 home is ($170,000/$1,000) $170 x 0.35 = $59.50 per year, which residents are paying today. If the proposed measure is approved, the rate would be 24 cents more, which is an increase of $40 per year, or about $3.34 a month.
The approved levy rate remains the same for five years and must be approved again by voters every five years. Keizer voters have had the same levy rate since 2003. The current Keizer Fire levy was approved by voters in 2008 and expires in July of 2014. Even with approval of the proposed levy increase, Keizer Fire District residents pay a significantly lower rate than their neighbors in Salem or Marion County. Fire and EMS services will be drastically changed for Keizer Fire District residents if the operational levy is not renewed.
(Greg Ego is president of the Keizer Fire District Board of Directors.)