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Oct 7, 2021

Levy Questions

What will it cost me? $96.81 yearly on a $185,000 home. That is $8.07 a month. $23.00 a year for a $20,000 vehicle.

When I drive by the bays are full, why is all that equipment not being used? Those apparatus have specific missions. A fire Engine only goes to building and car fires. A Brush truck responds to brush fires. An ambulance to a medical or injury call. We have two of each except a tanker. If one apparatus is out for maintenance or on another call, we have a reserve.

Why do we need to hire Full-Time personnel?  Most applicants prefer full-time employment    Part-time staff will have other obligations, such as additional part-time employment, that can hinder scheduling issues. and sometimes result in shift shortage of staffing.  Volunteers are not able to cover the time a full-time employee will provide.

 Why not just use volunteers? Volunteers have other jobs, families, hobbies, etc. It would take MANY volunteers to take the place of a career employee.

Why are you turning away volunteers? We accept all volunteers who meet the criteria.

Can’t you cut cost? We have cut our operating expenses as much as we possibly can without affecting services. Further cuts will affect our ability to respond.

What is driving the cost increases? Annual Health Insurance increases average 9%. Our Work Comp insurance rate doubled last year.

How will the levy money be used? For personnel to add a third full-time person per shift (3 shifts), and to allow future growth, equipment replacement and maintenance.

How will the levy money benefit me? It will allow us to respond with more personnel to your emergency, or to respond to more than one emergency at once.

Will this decrease my homeowner’s insurance premium? Possibly. Our goal is to lower the Insurance Services Office rating of our District from a “5” to a “4” or “3”. Depending on your insurance company, this could have a positive impact your homeowner’s insurance costs.

Why do we need this levy? To have more staff on duty for immediate response and to insure the future of the organization.

What happens if the levy does not pass? We may be forced to cut back our ability to provide services. This could result in layoffs, the ambulance not being staffed, poor maintenance of equipment.

How many volunteers do we have?  How many active? We currently have four volunteers, three of which are active.

Is there any cost to the department to have a volunteer? Yes. Volunteers must be trained to respond to emergencies, equipped with radios, protective equipment, issued uniforms and covered by workman’s comp insurance.

Do we need additional equipment, or soon will equipment need replaced? The Fire Engine, Tanker, both ambulances, and the equipment and tools on them are new with the bond issue and are on a planned replacement schedule.

How much does is cost to equip a new fire fighter? A firefighter’s protective gear alone, career or volunteer, is about $3,000. A radio, uniforms, coats, and Work Comp Insurance are another $1,000.

How much does it cost to equip/train a new volunteer? The same to equip a career firefighter. A volunteer must have training to respond to calls. We provide the Emergency Medical Responder training in-house with certified instructors. It costs us a little over $600.00 to train each for EMR and CPR. They must also be trained to be prepared to fight fires.

What training is required, by standards, to train a new volunteer? Emergency Medical Responder is a 40-hr. course. Firefighter training is 440 hours and costs $1,800.00. These are national standards and if not adhered too would pose great liability to the department.

How can I help/get involved? You can be a volunteer. Having auxiliary personnel to help with clean-up after fires, feed and rehab firefighters, or respond to and assist with medical calls. You can also become elected as a Director on the board that governs the fire district and help make decisions on district finances, operations, and goals.

What is Mutual Aid? Mutual aid is one organization going to help another, with an agreement that it is reciprocal help when available.

Are we the only department that calls for Mutual aid? No. All fire departments and ambulance services use mutual aid to help with multiple calls, large incidents, or multi-casualty incidents. These are incidents that are too large or dangerous for the organization to safely handle by themselves, such as a house on fire or large motor vehicle crash.

Do we get paid, or must pay, if Mutual Aid is used? There is no cost for Mutual Aid.

Is Holt getting more money than other departments in Clinton or Clay counties? No. Holt is the only full-time fire and Ambulance agency in Clinton County. All other Fire Departments are all volunteer. Our current levy is 1.0092, (.8489 plus the Bond Debt service of .1334). Kearney Fire and Rescue is .8843 and Lawson Fire and Rescue is 1.2773. Comparatively, the population of our district is 7,400, Kearney is 30,000 and Lawson is 14,000. Holt Fire operating 2019 tax income was $662,394. Kearney Fire Operating tax income was $2,828,918.00. Lawson was $1,152,324.00

Do we have a Bond that we have to pay back, and how much does that cost?  Yes, in 2016 we had a Bond Issue pass. The Debt Service Levy to retire that debt is set by the state auditor every year. This year it is .1334 per $100 assessed valuation, or about 13% of our total income.