South King Fire levy will get second chance with voters in August

For the second time in 2012, South King Fire and Rescue will present an excess levy to voters in an effort to raise money.

The levy will appear on the Aug. 7 primary election ballot. If approved, the levy is expected to generate $3.5 million per year for four years.

The bulk of South King Fire's calls are for emergency medical services. About $1 million from the levy will return one emergency aid car to service. The remaining money from the levy would help protect the fire district’s reserve fund, which fills an annual budget gap of about $2 million.

Most of the fire district's revenue comes from property taxes. The district currently collects $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The levy, if approved in August, 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.

In the April 17 special election, the levy failed to receive a 60 percent supermajority, finishing with 59.32 percent of voters (11,098) saying yes.

South King Fire's board of commissioners voted unanimously Monday to re-run the ballot measure in August. The fire district is encouraged by the fact that the levy came so close to the 60 percent benchmark in April.

"If it doesn't pass in August, we'll have a clear direction from the community that the economic times are too tough and that they can't afford that level of service," said Gordie Olson, assistant chief.

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


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