South King Fire nudges voters ahead of April 17 election

South King Fire and Rescue is proposing an excess levy in the special election for April 17, 2012. - Courtesy image
South King Fire and Rescue is proposing an excess levy in the special election for April 17, 2012.
— image credit: Courtesy image

Federal Way area taxpayers have a reason to vote in this month's special election.

South King Fire and Rescue is proposing a levy — Proposition 1 — to support current levels of service. The levy will cost taxpayers an average of 29 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value. This amounts to about $5 a month for the average home.

South King Fire has been mailing fliers to residents that discuss the district's financial setbacks. The mailers also provide information on how the fire district will use the levy.

Most of the district's funding comes from property taxes, and revenues have declined by 22 percent during the recession, the district reports. The levy should generate about $3.5 million per year for four years and curb reductions in personnel. About $1 million from the levy will fund one full-time aid car. These units handle emergency medical services. EMS accounts for the majority of the fire district's calls for service.

South King Fire and Rescue serves more than 150,000 residents in Federal Way, Des Moines and unincorporated King County.

"The department will shrink even more if we can't stem this tide," Fire Chief Al Church told The Mirror.

The opposing statement in the voters pamphlet says the district needs the additional funding provided by the levy. However, the statement against Prop. 1 calls for more efficiency in the fire district. The statement calls the levy a "desperate stop gap action," and the statement's authors suggest a future fixed-cap service benefit charge instead of a levy.

To read the pro and con statements in the voters pamphlet, click here.

Ballots are due by April 17. A ballot dropbox is available on 8th Avenue South, adjacent to City Hall.



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