TVF&R Annexation Measures on March Ballot
Cedar Mill voters will be asked in the March 13 election to consider whether to allow annexation of the city of Newberg and Newberg Rural Fire Protection District territories into Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue’s service area. You might be wondering why you are being asked to vote on measures that affect Newberg and the Newberg Rural area.
Approval of Measures 34-280 and 34-281 will not increase taxes paid by existing TVF&R residents. Because property owners in Newberg and the surrounding rural area would pay the same rate upon annexation as existing TVF&R patrons, the tax rate paid on bonded debt could actually decrease across TVF&R’s entire service area.
Since July 1, 2016, TVF&R has provided fire protection, emergency medical, and ambulance transport services to the city of Newberg and surrounding rural area under a two-year contract. Newberg asked TVF&R to serve the city and honor its arrangement with Newberg Rural Fire Protection District due to budget constraints that limited the city’s ability to provide adequate staffing, maintain equipment, and comply with national standards given increased service demands.
During the contract, elected leaders of TVF&R, the city of Newberg, and Newberg Rural evaluated the feasibility and cost-benefit of annexation. All agreed that it was a mutually beneficial decision and offered the most stable solution for long-term service to the city and rural communities.
Newberg and Newberg Rural areas residents voted in favor of annexation to TVF&R in the November 2017 election. The outcome was 69.32 percent voter support in the city and 62.99 percent voter approval in the rural area.
Despite strong approval, Oregon law allows 100 or more existing TVF&R voters to file petitions with Washington County during the annexation process to request that the Board of Commissioners require an in-district election on the proposed annexations. In December, petitions were filed and accepted by the Washington County board.
Since then, TVF&R has placed Measures 34-280 (city) and 34-281 (rural) on the March ballot. If voters pass both Measures 34-280 and 34-281, TVF&R will finalize the annexation process.
If either or both measures do not pass, TVF&R will work with Newberg and/or the rural district to ensure an effective transition, whether TVF&R continues to provide service through a contract extension, or Newberg reverts to its former model.
TVF&R’S history is based on similar voluntary and mutually beneficial annexations. TVF&R took shape as a fire district between 1972 and 2016, as a number of city fire departments and rural districts consolidated to share limited resources and save money. Collectively, communities can leverage their resources to have more sophisticated services at a lower cost than they could have on their own, while reducing administrative overhead, buying trucks and equipment in bulk, garnering better borrowing rates, and leveraging a system of response to locate stations, resources, and personnel strategically.
For more information on these measures, please contact Public Affairs Chief Cassandra Ulven at 503-649-8577.