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King County Elections
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  November 5, 2013 General And Special Election


King County Fire Protection District No. 28

Simple Majority (Chapter 84.55 RCW)

 

King County Fire Protection District No. 28
Proposition No. 1
Authorizing an Increase of Previous Property Tax Levies


The Board of Fire Commissioners of King County Fire Protection District No. 28 adopted Resolution No. 13-003 to finance maintenance, operations, and equipment. This proposition would authorize the District to adjust its regular property tax levy rate to one dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) per one thousand dollars ($1000) of assessed valuation for collection in 2014 and to set the limit factor at 100% plus the annual percentage change in the Consumer Price Index for each of the five succeeding years, 2015 through 2019. The maximum allowable levy amount in 2019 would be used to compute limitations for subsequent years as allowed by chapter 84.55 RCW. Should this proposition be:



Approved
Rejected

EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

King County Fire Protection District No. 28, a fire protection district serving the Enumclaw area in King County, is placing a levy lid lift proposition on the November 5, 2013 ballot. This proposition requests that voters authorize the property tax levy rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, for a six year period from 2014 through 2019.  The proposition is presented to provide voters the opportunity to exceed the tax levy limitation imposed by statute and to allow voters the opportunity to maintain current fire department services and personnel. In addition, this measure will allow the district to establish reserve funds for replacement of aging and outdated apparatus and firefighter safety equipment.

This proposition meets the requirement of the statute, mandating that any increase in revenue of more than 1%, over the previous highest levy, be approved by the voters.

Approval of this proposition would allow the district to maintain the current level of services. Rejection of this proposition would lead to the loss of substantial tax revenue, which could necessitate cutbacks in services.

 

Statement For

This levy proposition needs to pass!  It will assure adequate funding for:

  • Critical fire and emergency medical services for the next six years, and;
  • Replenish reserve funds to replace aging apparatus and safety equipment. 

Should it fail to pass, the current level of response cannot be maintained.

The primary source of income to operate the Fire District comes from property taxes; currently at a rate of $1.19 per $1000 of assessed value.  Most surrounding fire districts are at or above the $1.50 per thousand proposed in this proposition. The increase will amount to $5.17 per month on a $200,000 home.  A small price to ensure the vital lifesaving staffing and equipment to respond to your needs.

Prior to the 2010 annexation, the City’s general funds supplemented the Fire Department; since annexation, the Fire District has been using district reserve funds to sustain the general operations.  These reserve funds are being rapidly depleted due to operational needs and our challenging economic times.  Over the past 2+ years the District has increased staffing to provide quicker and better life saving services to the citizens of Enumclaw and Fire District 28.    Please vote YES; let’s keep our fire fighters responding to your emergencies!

Rebuttal of Statement Against

This proposition is about ensuring that adequate fire and emergency medical resources are in place to save lives and property; perhaps your life or property.  It should not be a referendum on the Commissioner’s past actions as the opposition would like; as there will be a new Board of Commissioners effective January 1.  Note that the opposition does not dispute the need for the levy increase.  Use your vote wisely, VOTE YES.

Statement submitted by: Elbert Reed, Lane Walthers and Heath Rainwater eor@telisphere.com

Statement Against

In 2011, the City of Enumclaw annexed into Fire District #28.  Since then, through lack of administrative experience and poor financial management of taxpayer dollars, the District Fire Commissioners failed to set up proper policies that would lead to prudent oversight. Below are three examples of poor financial decisions:

  • Taxpayer purchase of mobile home owned by one of the Commissioners for $85,000 valued at $10,000, used for firefighter dormitory. Total project cost $309,794.
  • Purchase of property for $500,000 valued at $60,000 for a new fire station If it is built, an additional $1 million sewer pump station would be required.
  • Hiring of six additional firefighters, four through a grant without having the money and resources to continue to pay them after the grant ends. The District will have to pay back $600,000 if they are not retained—money they no longer have.
  • District Commissioners, themselves firefighters, negotiate union contracts--No checks and balances for transparency and accountability.

Freewheel spending with no accountability to the taxpayers does not earn the Commissioners the right to ask for more money. It’s time to put a stop to bad financial management. Fire dollars are your dollars. Vote No!

Rebuttal Of Statement For

According to a recent article from a labor law group, Enumclaw firefighter’s rank 2nd in Washington State for wages.  Seattle is ranked 10th. Pass this levy and they will soon be the highest paid fire district in the state.

The city of Enumclaw collected .83 cents per thousand before the district merger.  Increasing to $1.50 per thousand represents an 80% increase in just 2 years.  Vote no and demand accountability for your tax dollars.

Statement submitted by: Mike Qualls
253-569-6491

Complete Text of Resolution

Download the full text of the resolution