Opinion

Vote yes on South King Fire and Rescue's Prop. 1 | Editorial

The Mirror recommends voting yes on Proposition 1 in the August primary election.

South King Fire and Rescue has a duty to provide taxpayers with the best professional emergency service. About 95 percent of SKFR’s funding comes from property taxes, which have dropped in double digits during the recession. Prop. 1 is an attempt to stabilize the fire department’s revenue source and maintain its current level of service.

The department expects homeowners will pay the same as in 2010. The proposed benefit charge would be a two-part funding formula. SKFR would collect a maximum of $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value, then rely on a benefit charge, which is decided through a public rate setting process, based on square footage and fire risk. Businesses, in most cases, will have higher benefit charges than homeowners because the formula is based on square footage.

Prop. 1 is difficult to understand at first glance. Some arguments against Prop. 1 inaccurately discredit the proposal as an attempt to hoodwink taxpayers in the name of profit and greed. More accurately, the fire department is in the business of public safety. The department protects and educates taxpayers, and even saves lives along the way.

There is no perfect solution when it comes to taxes, especially in today’s economy. However, Prop. 1 is about public safety and quality of life, not politics. A fire department with outdated equipment and less manpower will ultimately be less effective in some capacity. Vote yes on Prop. 1 to maintain the current level of service at South King Fire and Rescue.

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