BEND, OR -- Deschutes County voters overwhelmingly approved a permanent funding levy for the 911 service district. Preliminary results show nearly 72% of voters said yes to replacing the current combination of levies. "To have a number like that is just remarkable, and humbling," 911 Director Steve Reinke tells KBND News.
The measure will levy up to 42.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Reinke says, "The results of this levy mean that in the future, we're not going to need to keep coming back to the public every five years for operating levies. And, that's going to allow us to forecast into the future what our long-term capital needs are. We're going to be able to put money aside to make sure that when the radio system, that we're building today, runs to its end of life in 50 years that we'll have the money in the bank to pay for it without going into debt or doing bonds." He says the money will also be used for long-term maintenance of that new system and will allow the agency to hire more dispatchers.
"We want to make sure that we continue to offer the best 911 service that we possibly can to the members of the public who call us, to the responders that we serve," says Reinke. "It's just a remarkable vote of confidence." The new rate won't go into effect until 2018, when the current combination of levies expire. And, Reinke says the rate will only go up if and when needed.