Dear Editor: Lebanon Fire District Needs to Tighten its Belt

Dear Editor,
In a recent article in the Albany Democrat Herald, Lebanon Fire Chief Rondondi told
reporters that the “Lebanon Fire District is Hemorrhaging.” I think the fire district is short
sighted in not recognizing that the tax payers in Lebanon are hemorrhaging from our state
and local property taxes. Look back at our support for the LRFD over the years. In 2019 we
passed a bond to build a new fire station. That bond was in the amount of 16 million
dollars. That will be paid back by the community over a 26 year period. We will pay off
that bond in or around 2045. If we look at our annual property tax statement in the right
column you will see that what we pay in taxes is broken down into three areas, Education,
General Government and Bonds/Other. Education and General Government are limited
by Measure 5 to a term called compression. The Bonds/Other category is not limited by
Measure 5. Bonds and Levies are voted on by the taxpayers and must have voter approval.
The LRFD Levy will appear on the May ballot. The LRFD is asking $ .75 per $1,000 of
assessed value. This will cost tax payers an additional $250 – $500 annually in property
taxes. In my case it is roughly $350. The taxpayers in Lebanon are hemorrhaging money
through high property taxes.
I suggest everyone in the community review their 2023 Property Tax Statement. While
reviewing my statement (Education-Government and Bonds/Levies) l discovered in the
Government section line 4, I am already funding the LRFD for operations in the amount of
$467.72. After adding in the amount on my statement from the $16 Million Bond passed
in 2019 in the amount of $73.63, I am paying a total of $540.65 to the LRFD. Keep in mind
we have roughly 7,200 homes in Lebanon also paying these taxes. Do the math! If I add
the proposed levy costs of $350, I will pay $890.85 annually, pushing my property taxes to
well over $5,000 annually. The proposed levy is a five-year levy generating $10 million for
the Lebanon Fire District. This levy will return on the ballot in five years at a higher tax
rate requesting voter approval once again.
The taxpayers in Lebanon are hemorrhaging money in taxes. When I spoke to the Linn
County Assessors Office their first comment was made in references to the already high
property taxes in Lebanon. We as taxpayers need to keep in mind that the city is also
eyeing a levy/bond for a new City Hall and the Lebanon Community School District will
be looking at a bond before 2030. It is my opinion, that the LRFD pay attention to the
high inflation rates and rising costs of living and live within their means (as we all do),
tighten their belts and look at how they can reallocate funds within the department in
order to maintain great service to the community.
Michael Martin