Voters to decide on fire bond

Voters will begin deciding next week whether to approve a 26-year $16 million Lebanon Fire District bond to replace the main fire station at its current location at an estimated tax rate of 34 cents per $1,000 of property valuation annually, $68 per year on a $200,000 home.

The bond also would replace three aging fire engines, two brush rigs, firefighting equipment, and rehabilitation, renovation and improvements to other facilities within the Fire District.

If approved, the bond would replace a 2006 bond levy that charges 20 cents per $1,000 of property valuation, $40 per year on a $200,000 home. The new bond would be a net increase of 14 cents per $1,000, $28 per year on a $200,000 home. The 2006 bond paid for emergency apparatus and two fire stations, at Cheadle Lake and Berlin Road.

The current facility on Oak Street was built in 1975, before California experienced large earthquakes that led to changes in building standards.

“I hesitate to say it, but it’s true: We don’t meet fire code in this fire station,” Fire Chief Gordon Sletmoe said last year.

“This fire station has served the Lebanon Fire District, the citizens of Lebanon and the surrounding area really well, but if you look around you can tell it’s been used. It hasn’t been used up, but it’s time for a change,” said.

Also, research indicates pollutants from the apparatus bay endanger the health of the firefighters sleeping overhead, he added.

“I really do believe if we can’t protect our people, we can’t protect you. For that reason alone, it’s enough to be looking at a new fire station. The other thing is, this is not Lebanon 1975. This is Lebanon 2018. We’ve outgrown this station, we have trucks and people wedged into every nook and cranny in this station, and it’s just too small.”

LFD will host two public meetings to discuss the bond proposal. The meetings will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, and 8 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 1050 W. Oak St. More information on the replacement bond can be found at LebanonFire.org, or by contacting Sletmoe at (541) 451-6103, or [email protected].

The Linn County clerk’s office began mailing ballots to out-of-state voters on Oct. 7. The county is scheduled to deliver local ballots to the Post Office Wednesday, Oct. 16. Ballots are due by 8 p.m. on Nov. 5.

Voters may return ballots by mail or drop them off at the Linn County Sheriff’s Office Lebanon Substation, 2590 S. Main Road; Lebanon Public Library, 55 Academy St.; or Lebanon Police Department, 40 N. 2nd St.

Sarah Brown contributed to this story