Central Lyon Fire seeks tax to aid expansion

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The Central Lyon County Fire Protection District is asking voters whether they support an initiative to open two additional full-time fire stations and fill open positions of previous volunteer positions with full-time emergency medical and fire protection personnel.
Approval of the initiative, county Question 1, calls for a levy of a tax of 23 cents per $100 of assessed valuation upon all property owners residing within the CLCFD boundary for up to 30 years. The revenue would provide for the hire of additional firefighter-paramedics and help to improve emergency response times in the district’s communities.
CLCFPD Chief Rich Harvey gave an overview of the measure to the Mound House Citizen Advisory Board on Tuesday explaining the potential tax levy if voters approve the initiative.
Harvey said the additional tax to move the two stations from an all-volunteer to combined full-time and volunteer staffing capacity to be placed on a new homeowner, according to a county assessor’s taxable value of $100,000, is $80.50 per year, or approximately $6.71 per month. Assessed valuation is 35% of taxable value, according to comptroller Josh Foli, so a 23-cent tax rate generates approximately $81. If the assessed valuation is $100,000, with a taxable value of $285,714, the 23-cent tax rate generates $280. However, at the $80.50 total, 
Harvey said this still falls far below the tax cap.
Two of seven stations within Central Lyon help to cover more than 640 square miles, with Central Lyon’s firefighters responding to all calls and making 80% of their calls within 17 minutes, Harvey said.
Last year, CLCFPD’s staff responded to more than 4,200 calls, according to www.centrallyonfirefighters.com. Of this total, 85% were emergency medical calls. The amount has grown 30% in the past 10 years, and fewer volunteers are signing up to assist.
An arguments for the increase: Firefighter/paramedics would be placed at Silver Springs’ Station 32 and Dayton Valley Road’s Station 39 all day. An argument against its passage: The CLCFPD should explore other options and move existing personnel to staff stations 32 and 39 and have a complete audit.
Lyon County Commissioner Ken Gray, representing District 3, attended the Mound House CAB meeting and said most county residents forget there is no central fire department serving all of Lyon County the way a larger jurisdiction is run. There are four districts governed by their own board of directors with the ability to establish their own tax rates.
Gray frequently has expressed opposition to raising taxes but added when it comes to the fire district’s response times, Central Lyon’s staff does “a hell of a job of getting there.”
“In rural Nevada, I don’t think that’s acceptable (to respond in 17 minutes),” he said. “I’m leaving it to you guys – how safe do you want to be? We know exactly what we’re going to get for this amount.” 


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