Letters to the Editor

A long hard look at proposed fire levy | Letters

I am trying to make an informed decision regarding the excess levy South King Fire and Rescue is requesting voters to approve in the April 17 special election.

I studied the information that was mailed to voters and also garnered a little more information at an open house on March 26, 2012. However, I’m still not sure how necessary this levy is, nor am I assured that our commissioners are using the funding they have efficiently.

Here are a few questions I would like to see answered so all the voters can make an informed decision regarding this request to dip into our pockets.

1. How does taxing in our district compare to other nearby fire districts? (Tacoma, Valley Regional, Edgewood, Seatac, etc.)

2. What has been the department annual operating budget for the last 10 years? It would be good to see how it has grown and then how it may be shrinking. Is the department back to a budget the same amount it was a few years ago?

3. What has been the demand for service over the past 10 years? Is the district receiving twice as many calls as 10 years ago? Or 20 percent more? These would be good numbers to compare to its budget over the same time.

I have asked the fire district some of these questions and have been offered about 400 pages of documentation (for questions 2 and 3) at a cost to me of about $55.

My salary as a teacher has not gone up in over five years. My property taxes have not gone down 22 percent over the past two (or four years). So when my fire district asks me for an almost 20 percent increase in tax, I need to take a long hard look.

Keith Rodman, unincorporated King County

 

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