A battle over a ballot initiative that would renew a levy currently in place to provide funds for the Western Lane Ambulance District is heating up as both sides state their case. The levy that currently assesses homeowners and businesses at 45 cent per $1000 dollars assessed value hase been in place since 2012 and a homeowner whose home is valued at $250,000.00 dollars would pay approximately $113.00 dollars annually, an amount that former WLAD Board member, Larry Farnsworth says is too much. Farnsworth says part of the problem is the way government operates versus the private sector.
“We don’t believe that they need the operating levy if they were to run this ambulance service in a fiscally responsible manner.”
He says the ambulance district already has a permanent levy on the books and it should not need additional monies from the community to operate, a position that is not shared by at least some of the current members of the WLAD Board. Board Member Mike Webb says the ask is not cumbersome, but required to give the level of service that the district is known for.
“There’s been some suggestions that we could privatize or subcontract to a for-profit, if we did that I believe that our services would be dramatically cut.”
It is not just a financial issue but an extremely emotional one for voters to decide on November 2nd. Both sides state their case on tomorrows Our Town which airs on KCST beginning at 4 pm and again at 10 am on Thursday on KCFM.
Backyard Burn Still Banned For Now
At midnight last night the Oregon Department of Forestry officially ended the fire season for the areas in western Lane County, however the end of the season is specifically for industrial burning and not for backyard burning. Colder weather and storm fronts moving into the area prompted the change from the October 15th date formally announced last week, but the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency is currently standing with their October 15th date at least for now. Backyard burning will be able to resume on that date. Residents should contact Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue for burn conditions and to see if changes are made to the current timeline.
9 New COVID-19 Cases
9 cases were added to the total of COVID-19 cases in the Florence area bringing the total to 662 all time for the area. Cases continue to effect businesses and residents and it comes even as the county is reporting lower overall numbers. For the weekend Lane reported 275 cases and the OHA reported 3,286 for the same period.
ALS Available for SVFR
A 911 call on Thursday began as a shortness of breath call that quickly escalated to a cardiac arrest. Siuslaw valley fire and rescue responded and was first on the scene. Engine 601 had recently been equipped with Advance Life support equipment and the SVFR staff responding had been trained by Western Lane ambulance staff in emergency medical services. Matt House, division Chief of operations said that the personnel were able to give services to the patient from the moment of arrival until they arrived at the hospital, something that would not have been available prior to the two entities beginning to work together. Cross training of fire personnel is something that Western Lane Fire and EMS have been behind since its inception.