Why I’m rejecting the South King Fire levy | Letters
April 12, 2012 · Updated 5:50 PM
Having spent 10 years as a volunteer firefighter, I have experienced firsthand the challenges faced by emergency responders and I greatly respect their dedication to our community.
However, having spent 20-plus years as a financial planner, I learned long ago that more money never helped a person or organization that can’t control their spending. The last several years have proven that South King Fire and Rescue can’t control their spending. As such I am voting no to their request for additional tax revenue.
SKFR refuses to adapt their budget to the reality that the glory days of fighting fires are over. During 2011, SKFR responded to more than 14,000 emergencies, only 75 of which were structure fires. Despite structure fires representing less than 1 percent of emergencies, SKFR continues to drive fuel-guzzling fire trucks (each costing hundreds of thousands of dollars) to even the most basic first aid call and to the grocery store.
A recent article in Fire Chief magazine asserted that fire chiefs who are “not taking steps to improve their departments’ fuel efficiency are being naive, and, to a great degree, negligent.”
In addition to driving fire trucks to first aid calls, it wasn’t until the last tax measure failed that SKFR began a long overdue consolidation of our fire district. SKFR has also failed to demonstrate any correlation between their budget and the safety of our community.
Voting yes on this tax increase would simply be throwing more money down a black hole. Unfortunately, voting no seems to be the only way to force SKFR to become more efficient by abandoning “negligent” practices. Until SKFR has adapted their budget to today’s reality of fewer fires, higher fuel prices and lower property values, I will continue to vote no to their requests for more money.
Nathaniel Jarvis, Federal Way