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Firefighters are OK, but the CRF&R tax proposal isn't

There is not much we can say about Columbia River Fire & Rescue’s proposed $15 million, 20-year obligation bond to upgrade facilities and purchase new equipment. There has been very little in the way of a campaign push or public education initiative from CRF&R for public approval of the bond levy and, considering we have advocated for approval of Measure 5-238 for jail operating funds, there is small chance both would draw taxpayer approval in this election cycle.

Of note, too, is that CRF&R is not a cash-strapped organization.

Last week, we reported CRF&R board’s decision to rescind proposed raises of greater than 3 percent for the fire district’s administrators, an action the board took on the odds the raises would be negatively perceived by voting taxpayers. We now are wary of the possibility the board, after the election is over, could reintroduce the higher raises.

We want to see CRF&R make a stronger case to the voting public for why it needs additional funds — the agency currently receives roughly $6 million in annual property tax revenue — to maintain its operations and facilities. At this point, we haven’t heard one.

On top of that, the agency is still carrying $1.8 million in debt. In this election, vote no.