Overview, Background, and FAQ

The Goal: Establish a New Fire District

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    Fire Department Response has over doubled in the last decade.

    In an effort to provide improved fire protection services to the City of Bay City, the City of Garibaldi and Garibaldi Rural Fire District, a steering committee was formed in 2016 to explore the best options to deliver the most reliable and fiscally responsible emergency response to the residents and visitors to the area. The recommendation of the committee was to combine the three existing fire departments into a single Fire District.

    In 2023, the North Coast Fire and Rescue District formation committee was created by resolution from the City Councils of Garibaldi and Bay City, and the Garibaldi Rural Fire District Board of Commissioners. The goal of the formation committee is to complete all required steps, including public outreach and input, for the formation of a new Fire District under the Special Districts of Oregon.

    The Formation of a fire district will consolidate existing resources and combine jurisdictions to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of departments by allowing for the better use of resources and providing greater flexibility and capability. Consolidation will also result in cost savings due to the efficient use of resources and the reduction of duplicative efforts through reorganization.

    Faced with increased costs and budgetary constraints, fire department consolidation by way of a district is the most efficient way to stabilize or reduce fire protection costs.

    The driving force behind all decisions during this process has always been and will continue to be – “What is in the public’s best interest?”

    Frequently asked.

    What is a special district?

    Special districts are a form of local government. They are created to meet specific service needs for their communities. There are many types of Special Districts in Oregon such as Water Districts, Port Districts, Fire Districts, Cemetery Districts, Utility Districts, and School Districts to name a few. Special districts tailor services to meet local needs. Cities must provide many services regardless of citizen demand. Special districts, however, only provide the services that they are funded for.

    What is a fire district?

    A fire district is a political subdivision located within a jurisdiction. Fire districts are established for the purpose of providing fire protection and response to emergencies. A fire district is political entity the is independent from city government with its own elected governing body, administrative officers, and expenditure limitations. A fire district is dependent on the jurisdiction(s) means to its initial creation, extension, and dissolution. A fire district has the power both to incur indebtedness and to require the levy of taxes.

    Fire district taxes are assessed, levied, and collected at the same time and in the same manner as other special districts taxes.

    What is the difference between a fire “district” and a fire “department”?

    Fire departments are part of a municipal government and are funded through the City’s general fund revenues which are derived from sales tax, state shared revenues, and property taxes. Fire departments are overseen by the same municipal council that oversees all City departments. A fire department generally only protects the area within the boundaries of their city.

    Fire districts are special taxing districts and are independent of any city or county government. They provide service to multiple geographical areas which may include rural and/or unincorporated areas and one or more municipalities. Much of their funding is derived from personal property taxes collected within the fire district’s boundaries.

    Fire districts are overseen by a board of directors elected at large by the citizens of the district.

    Why a fire district?

    There are several factors that will influence the development of a fire district, however, t the main driving factor is to bring our small communities and unincorporated areas together under one fire service provider. This helps to provide better service to all the area while reducing redundancy in service and costs associated with this redundancy.

    What is redundancy in the current fire protection coverage?

    Each community needs fire trucks, however, both cities have stations very close together because of the size of these communities. Each of these communities has several types of fire apparatus as well to service each community. This proximity and large number of apparatuses causes an overlap in coverage based on time and distance. Stations staffing and apparatus are a big cost to each community. Having the ability to share these resources while providing better area coverage makes fire districts very effective.

    What are some of the advantages of forming a Fire District?

    Improved response time; maximizing purchasing power; increased availability of career and volunteer members; centralizing fire department management, reducing administrative costs; the standardizing of operational procedures and training; reducing the community’s insurance premiums based on improvements in the insurance rating, improving fleet management, and the ability to be self-governing while not at the mercy of city budgeting and funding issues.

    How will the new fire district be funded?

    Primary funding for the district will come from property taxes from properties located within the fire district boundaries. Other funding can come from bonds, levies, grants, and service fees.

    How is a fire district governed?

    The fire district will be governed by its own board of commissioners, elected by the residents of the fire district boundaries. This gives the community members residing in the district the ability to vote for Fire Board members (or run for a seat on the Board) and have a say in the decisions of the Fire District.

    What are some of the type of emergency calls will the fire district respond to?

    Modern firefighters are “all-hazards” responders, providing emergency medical response, fire suppression, wildland fire containment, water rescues, technical rescue, hazardous materials response, response to active shooter/hostile events, industrial accidents, motor vehicle accidents, fire inspections, public education, investigation, community training and more.

    While this is a long and growing list, effectively managing a response comes down to three elements, no matter the specific hazard:

    1. Understanding the risks in the response environment,
    2. Deploying enough resources, and properly trained personnel to effectively manage every incident, and
    3. Being able to ensure overall safety of responders and the community.
    Why are firefighters so valuable to the community?

    Firefighters are important members of the community because they are trained to deal with all kinds of needs and all kinds of people.

    • Firefighters will handle residential, commercial and wildfires.
    • Firefighters can provide medical assistance as EMTs.
    • Firefighters can assist at the scene of road traffic accidents.
    • Firefighters can deal with hazardous materials.
    • Firefighters can help train the public on matters of fire prevention and safety.
    • Firefighters can enforce fire codes and preventative measures.
    Why does a fire engine respond to medical calls?

    The answer to this question is simple, better service. When you or your loved one is having an emergency, it is important to receive care as quickly as possible. A fire engine responds with additional personnel to assist the paramedics on the ambulance in providing that care.