APPLEGATE – Initial returns showed voters narrowly approving a new operations levy for the Applegate Valley Rural Fire Protection District 9.
Results shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday showed the measure ahead by a 70-vote margin — 1,277 to 1,207 — in favor of another operations levy.
If ultimately approved, district customers would see a levy rate of $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed value for fiscal years 2019-2024.
The new levy amount would be a slight increase over an existing 92 cent levy. District officials explained in election information that the new levy amount would maintain 24-hour operations in addition to allowing the district to keep seven full-time employees, hold fast to a three-minute response time and extend more training to recruited volunteers. Additionally, a substation of sorts could be put at the west end of the service district, allowing volunteers to respond from that housing.
District chief Mike McLaughlin declined to comment on the levy other than to provide factual information.
Rob Underwood, owner of Pit Stop Coffee in Ruch and a 26-year veteran volunteer for the district before retiring in April, was happy to see voter support on Tuesday, no matter the margin.
The proposed increase would generate an addition $84,000 per year to cover some needed expenses.
“I think that the honesty and integrity of the department showed through. One of the things I would say is that the public believes in their local fire department and that the district is not mismanaging or misappropriating the money,” Underwood said.
“It truly shined through, the things that Applegate Fire District stands for. They’re not about wasting or misusing money. The focus has always been about providing good quality service to citizens out here. That’s been the commitment of this district for forever.”