MCFD#1 to field levy questions online

MCFD1 Marion County Fire District Clear Lake

Marion County Fire District #1 will be hosting a pair of virtual meetings to answer questions about their new operating levy renewal, which is on the May 19 primary election ballot.

Measure 24-441 would renew and increase the Fire District’s local operating levy (or local option levy), which accounts for almost 30 percent of its general property tax revenue.

The virtual meetings will take place on Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 12 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. via Facebook Live on the district’s Facebook page. During the virtual meeting, MCFD#1 Fire Chief Kyle McMann will give a brief presentation and respond to any questions that are asked over Facebook Live and those that are sent via email before the meeting. 

In order to deal with an ever-increasing call-volume, McMann believes that it’s vital that the levy gets passed — it will allow the district to hire two additional firefighters/paramedics. Along with an increase in emergency calls, there has been a sharp decrease of volunteer firefighters serving in Marion County.

“The local option levy is crucial to maintain the services the district provides and addresses the increasing call volumes and response times within the 80 square miles of the district, which includes 55 percent of calls overlapping, meaning there are multiple calls going on at the same time,” McMann said. “The local option levy accounts for almost 30 percent of its general property tax revenue, all a significant portion of the operating revenue of the district. Without the levy, services would be reduced.”

The operating levy increase is proposed at 28 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value or $4.67 per month ($56 per year) for the owner of a home assessed at $200,000.

Over the last year, MCFD#1 has made a concerted effort to communicate the need to hire more emergency personnel and replace aging apparatus. That need has increased exponentially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Personnel costs have increased $35,000 per month to accommodate additional overtime pay and temporary hires. Costs also have gone up significantly for personal protective equipment, emergency personnel, disinfectant, hand sanitizers and decontamination products because of the high demand. 

“COVID-19 has increased the need as we have increased staffing temporarily to meet the demand of services as well as keep responders outfitted with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) that is needed,” McMann said. “Most of the PPE has seen dramatic increases in costs due to limited availability and demand. The district must be prepared to meet the demands of this outbreak of COVID-19 as well as future ones that will come.”

For those unable to watch the meeting, McMann is available to answer questions at 503-588-6535 or [email protected]. For more information on the operating levy request, visit