In 2002, Douglas County Fire District 4 responded to 72 calls. That’s jumped to over 190 this year, and Fire Chief Jim Oatey predicts it’ll be about 310 in 2028.
“Our community has changed from a small farming community to a bedroom community and a vacation community,” he said. “Orchards have been taken out along the river, and houses have been built. The residential numbers, especially in the summer, are tremendously higher than what they used to be. And also, Highway 97 is a major thoroughfare and generates a lot of auto accidents.”
Between the increase in calls and rising costs of firefighting due to inflation, there’s a need for more revenue. So, the Orondo-based district, which serves the area from Turtle Rock to Beebe, is proposing a property tax increase in the Nov. 6 election.
The measure would raise the tax from 67 cents to 97 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value from 2019-21, Oatey said.