School board endorses fire levy as vital vote for safety

This June 2011 photo shows South King Fire and Rescue at work against a residential fire. - Courtesy of South King Fire and Rescue
This June 2011 photo shows South King Fire and Rescue at work against a residential fire.
— image credit: Courtesy of South King Fire and Rescue

On Aug. 7, King County voters will decide whether to approve a levy to increase funding for South King Fire and Rescue (SKFR).

The levy, which failed in the April special election, got an important vote of confidence. The Federal Way Public Schools (FWPS) board of directors passed a resolution in favor of the levy, saying the district views SKFR’s role in the community as crucial.

Board president Tony Moore shared his thoughts on what the fire district considers to be a vital vote.

“Our responsibility is to make sure that everyone, not just the 22,000 children, but also our employees, are well taken care of in this regard,” Moore said during the July 24 board meeting. “In an ever-evolving city and school district structure, I think it’s important that the fire district is prepared to meet our challenges and our needs, and I believe this particular proposal does that.”

Moore touched on a fire some years ago in the chemistry department at Federal Way High School, citing that as an example of why SKFR is important to the school district.

“I’m glad we’re joining with them to make this community safer,” Moore added.

Board director Danny Peterson was also happy to throw his support behind SFKR and the levy.

“This is an opportunity for us as a district to really rally behind a key piece of our community that really supports us when there’s emergencies,” he said. “This is not just a nice thing, I think this is a necessity that this passes for the fire district. I think this is a good choice for the district to be in favor of this.”

School board director Ed Barney said he felt this levy is important to ensure that SKFR has adequate funds moving into the future.

SKFR has experienced a drop of over 22 percent in revenues since 2009. The economic downturn led the fire district to reduce 26 positions, including 16 firefighter/EMTs, and the elimination of one full-time aid car, and one half-time aid car. According to SKFR, if the levy is approved, one of the aid cars will be restored, and will allow the district to cover the budget gap it currently finds itself facing.

The four-year levy will collect a fixed amount of $3.5 million over its life, and will add 29 cents to each $1,000 of assessed value for home and property owners in the region. For a home valued at $200,000, the homeowner would pay less than $5 a month, and approximately $58 a year.


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