by: PEGGY SAVAGE - From left: Molalla Fire District firefighter/paramedic Dallas Oja, Chief Vince Stafford, firefighter/paramedic Estabrook and Lt. Mike Berrington give a thumbs up Wednesday after voters passed both a levy and bond measure to support the district. 
Voters came through at the ballot box for the Molalla Fire District Tuesday, passing the bond and levy needed to replace trucks and equipment and fill some full-time positions.

This is the first time in 28 years a money measure has passed for the district, and Molalla Fire Chief Vince Stafford said he, his staff and volunteers all feel like celebrating.

“We are all ‘wow — this is fantastic,’” Stafford said Wednesday morning. “Last night, it looked like we might make it, but I checked first thing this morning to make sure nothing had changed. I was almost afraid it would, but we won with a really nice margin. We needed this, it’s not want, but need, and to finally see the results — that yes it’s really happening — we are so pleased.

“But we had a lot of support from people who were getting the message out so that people would understand, and this will be a tremendous help, not just for us, but for all the people in the district.

Measure 3-442 called for a $2.7 million, five-year operating levy to allow the district to keep three of the new firefighter/paramedics hired on through a federal grant.

Measure 3-443 called for a $3.19 million, 11-year bond issue to pay for additional fire apparatus, a training facility, medical equipment and renovation of public-safety facilities.

Both measures passed with a nearly 60 percent approval.

The vote count for the general obligation bond was 1,701 yes votes at 59.4 percent and 1,163 no votes at 40.6 percent.

The five-year local option tax for operations had 1,706 yes votes at 59.6 percent to 1,157 no votes at 40.4 percent.

The bond issue carries a projected property tax rate of a little more than 26 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. That means the owner of a $200,000 home will pay an additional $52.48 per year for 11 years to retire the bonds.

Stafford said now the planning part comes in.

“As far as the levy, we don’t see any money until November,” he said. “And with the bond, our priority will be to get the fire tenders in here. We want to get the best bang for the buck, but we will order the same pump size we had before. We will get those ordered right away, and then it takes them up to six months to build the truck.”

Stafford said he and his department want to thank everyone for giving them the positive support they needed.

“We hope that this will help people with their home insurance,” he said. “Thank you to everyone who supported us. We’ve always been good stewards of the money and will continue to do that. Thanks for helping us to serve you all even better now.”

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