Far be it for us to tell people how to spend their hard-earned money, but there’s a pretty darn good investment being offered by South Pierce Fire and Rescue. Voters in the general election should see it that way.
The fire district has a $7.6 million bond on the ballot. If it passes when the votes are counted Nov. 5, property taxes from within the district would pay for a new, centralized headquarters station that would become a much better hub of community activities, generators for emergency power at four stations, and remodeling of facilities districtwide. Basically, the district is asking for money to modernize services that to this point have been a bargain for the public (the district hasn’t asked voters for a dime since it formed in 1953) and would continue that way, at least relatively speaking. If the bond passes, the owner of a $170,000 home would pay an additional $59.50 in property tax.
South Pierce Fire and Rescue provides fire and emergency medical services to a combined population of more than 22,000 in a region covering 138 square miles, including unincorporated areas outside Eatonville, Clear Lake, Ohop Lake, La Grande, Roy, Lacamas, Harts Lake and McKenna. Knock on wood, but many people, structures and motorists there now and those coming in the years ahead may never need a firefighter or paramedic. But many will, and those that don’t will know someone who does. Incidents from fire and aid reports published frequently in The Dispatch run the gamut of medical emergencies and responses to traffic accidents, as well as structure fires. Last year, the district handled 2,341 9-1-1 calls. Of those, 75 percent were medical emergencies.
Investing in a fire department that’s there when duty calls is simply the smart thing to do. Because when you come right down to it, the taxpayers writing the checks are investing in themselves.
The Dispatch editorials are written by editor Pat Jenkins.