Ballot Issue 5B: The Facts
This election cycle, Wellington Fire Protection District (District) voters are being asked to approve a mill increase to fund increased emergency and non-emergency services. The District is currently operating using up to a maximum 9.4 mill levy approved by the voters in 2000. In the 17 years since, our community and its demand for services has dramatically changed.
The District, run by an elected five-member Board of Directors, is separate from the Town of Wellington and covers 288 square-miles. Roughly, 81% of the District’s funding comes from local property and ownership tax (Figure 1A). Of the $1.144 million in revenue for 2016, $918,268 came from property taxes. 5B will allow the District to continue funding reducing emergency response times, firefighter safety, increased training for fire personnel (comprised of 16 full-time firefighter-EMTs, 3 full-time firefighter-paramedics, and 12 volunteer/reserve firefighter-EMTs), and the growing demand for emergency and non-emergency services.
Without the increase in the mill levy, Wellington Fire will have to make significant adjustments affecting staffing, firefighter safety, level of service and continued education and training.
It is important to understand that operating with full-time firefighters directly affects response times. In 2014, Wellington Fire began adding full and part-time fire personnel. In 2016, thanks to a FEMA grant, the District was able to add six full-time firefighter-EMTs. These changes have led to reduced response times by 66% for the District.
Reduced response time has not been the only success seen with the addition of paid staff. With the combination of additional staffing and a greater emphasis on more advanced training, the District was able to improve its insurance fire protection classification. As a result, homeowners and businesses have seen a decrease in their insurance premiums.
What will it cost you? On average residential property owners will see an increase of roughly $125.25 a year, or $10 a month.
Ballot Issue 5B will support reducing emergency response times, firefighter safety, increased training and the growing demand for emergency and non-emergency services.