Published Saturday, July 16, 2022
As that infamous insurance TV commercial tells its viewers, “We know a thing or two because we have seen a thing or two”, is a perfect example of how life has been for the last (almost) three years with COVID and now, inflation is trying to creep upon us.
THE STRUGGLE IS REAL
Past polls of various populations in the U.S., reflect strong signs Americans are feeling the crunch of high fuel prices, hunger, crime, food insecurity, and the dollar not stretching as far as it did before.
Not only is this affecting individuals, families, and businesses alike, but it is also impacting Fire agencies across the nation. However, some have been able to maintain their funding through Fire/EMS levies/bonds or other sources. The smaller ones, are tapping into the same sources but are finding funding declines over time. They appear to be struggling like the communities they serve in and face many challenges down the line.
Today, we will highlight the challenges of one of the smaller fire agencies, the Nile-Cliffdell Fire & Rescue/Yakima County Fire District #14 which is located in the eastern portion of our State (Washington).
ABOUT NILE-CLIFFDELL FIRE & RESCUE/YCFD14
The Nile-Cliffdell Fire & Rescue/Yakima County Fire District #14 is an all-volunteer fire organization that has three unmanned stations on SR 410.
They are managed by a three-member Board of Commissioners.
They provide services such as lift assists, motor vehicle accidents (MVA), structure and wildland fires, EMS calls to search and rescue and recovery as well as additional fire-related activities.
One way the all-volunteer fire agency gains funding sources like their career counterparts by receiving monies from property tax levies, which are calculated by a certain dollar amount per $1,000 county property value.
In 2016, the Fire agency requested an increase in its property tax collections to raise funds for fire operations, with an increased rate of up to six percent and not to exceed $1 per $1,000 property value. They were at a current $.77 per $1,000 which nets a current $89,000 annually.
The new tax would have gone into effect in 2017, for about five years would have brought in about $115,000, according to media reports on this subject. Fire Districts are able to increase their rate by one percent for each year on their own, but beyond the max of five percent, they must have the voters’ approval.
Some of the funding generally goes to fire operations, equipment, and training, and back in 2016, the District found themselves falling behind in purchasing much necessary equipment due to their previous levy being frozen. According to media sources, the District was requesting a six-percent increase each other for a total of thirty percent in five years.
A new request for voters in 2022, will ask them to help with funding issues and though, we were looking to see the nuts and bolts of the proposal on the ballot, it did not seem accessible to us. We have seen folks reaching out on the Fire Department’s Socials stating they are going to support the new levy. Great news for all and it will be a win-win.
The District’s financial audit in 2016, showed its financial statements are in compliance with the federal grant program requirements. They also passed their financial audit in 2020.
The Department is currently working on securing a grant in coordination with both Naches and Highland to standardize equipment, such as SCBA’s, uniforms, etc. to be able to do bulk purchases, netting big savings.
The Nile-Cliffdell Fire & Rescue/Yakima County Fire District #14 hosted a Pancake Feed on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 0700 hours-1100, to raise funds for their agency. Sunday morning, they will continue with Day 2 of the same and we encourage you to attend and meet your firefighters while helping them raise some serious funding to continue with increased costs and expenses. Some of the challenges, they are facing are increased drug prices, surgical equipment, and supplies, as well as other items, such as fuel and maintenance costs.
The next Pancake Feed will be on Sunday, July 17, 2022, from 0700-1000 hours PT, to be held at Station 11 at 13670 WA-410, Naches, Washington 98937. The menu includes yummies such as pancakes, sausage, ham, eggs, coffee, and juice. All-You-Can-Eat Menu is $9/per person. Fire fun will include meeting firefighters, visiting the station for the grand tour, and trying on some of their gear!
We found a gofundme page created by Ryan Clark with a goal of $5,000. Currently, the page has reached $1,275, and appears, that they need some more help in donating to their page. Disclaimer: We have not vetted this page and recommend you do your own research before giving. https://gofund.me/6ac70779
You also donate directly to the Nile-Cliffdell Firefighters Association, 13670 WA-410, Naches, WA 98937.
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