During the Jan. 18 Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue District (SVFR) board meeting, directors agreed to move forward with adopting an ordinance to allow SVFR to recover certain expenses incurred during public safety incidents outside of the district limits, or to non-resident visitors traveling through the district.
Fire Chief Jim Langborg told the board, "The thought process behind this ordinance is that the taxpayers pay for all this equipment and personnel. Those traveling through our area are not taxpayers and don't pay. This is trying to get some cost recovery from those people that don't pay taxes in our area. At least our basic cost for the incident, so our taxpayers don't have to pay for it all."
Langborg referenced what the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) had written as an example of the language to be used.
"We looked through the OSFM policy and wrote them down a little more succinctly in this policy," Langborg said. "We talk about actual personnel charges. They all fit within the OSFM model and are all based on actual cost."
According to the proposed ordinance, a pump fire engine with a four-firefighter crew would bill out at $100 per hour and an aerial ladder truck with a four-firefighter crew would bill out at $150 per hour. Lesser rates would apply for other firefighting equipment.
In addition, a minimum $40 processing fee would be added to each invoice.
The ordinance clearly states that it does not apply to SVFR District taxpayers.
"We go on an incident and we make the decision that, yes, it fits within the policy and it fits within our ordinances," Langborg said. "Or we can choose not to, depending on what is going on."
He added, "In the appeal process, if people say, 'we have a hardship, we don't feel this is right,' this hopefully will come to the board for a decision."
The board agreed to have the second reading and final vote on the ordinance at the Feb. 15 board meeting, pending any modifications or recommendations made by the board.