Josephine County to host town hall on possible fire district Thursday
Residents in Josephine County have the opportunity to provide input on the creation of a rural fire district at a town hall meeting this Thursday. County commissioners are looking at their options when dealing with this previously unpopular idea.
The county has again been considering creating a rural fire district outside of Grants Pass. One of the county’s two private companies, County Fire, shut down earlier this summer, prompting a revival of talks about forming a fire district.
But, voters rejected a similar proposal to create a district in 2021 because it would have meant increasing property taxes.
Grants Pass resident and retired firefighter John Maupin said getting residents on board will be difficult.
“It’s gonna be an interesting audience because 30% of the people are adamantly against the fire district because of the cost," Maupin said.
He said right now, many residents benefit from private fire protection even if they don’t pay for subscriptions.
Josephine County Commissioners did not respond to requests for comment.
Maupin said residents have to understand there will be additional costs to getting a fire district up and running.
“So we’re gonna start a new fire department and we got a nice, low permanent rate and so forth," he said. "Where are they gonna get the money for capital improvements?”
The tax would be added to what resident's already pay. It would support new fire district operations. The 2021 ballot measure was set at $1.74 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Maupin supports creating a fire district, but said the county should provide the needed resources to get it started, rather than give it insufficient funding.
At a meeting in late August, Commissioners discussed the possibility of creating multiple smaller fire districts instead of one large district, which could increase support. But, that could also mean higher costs for each district.
The town hall starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday at North Valley High School.