Letters to the Editor

Why voters need fire department service charge | Federal Way letters

It seems the country’s economic slump hits home in many ways, even our local fire district, South King Fire and Rescue. As your fire district revenues are based totally on property tax dollars, the downturn affects property values, thus decreasing the amount of revenues generated for the district’s operating budget. We were fortunate that the District Commissioners decided two years ago to establish a “rainy day” fund for just such a scenario.

Unfortunately, the economic picture is not going to get better anytime soon and the rainy day fund will not be able to support the level of services beyond 2011 that we have come to expect from our district.

In trying to maintain (one of the best in the state) this high level of service, the district has made a decision to try to stabilize its revenues by changing the way property taxes are levied in the fire district. Thus, the measure Proposition One is on the ballot for the Aug. 17 primary election.

Proposition One allows our district to stabilize its revenues for the next six years by instituting a Benefit Charge against properties. Normal taxes are levied at $1.50 per $1,000 of property value. Under a Benefit Charge, the $1.50 is rolled back to $1 and the remainder amount is calculated on the square footage of the property structures. The Board of Commissioners will set this rate every year in an open public process depending how much is needed to stabilize revenues and allow the district to maintain the level of services the public has come to rely on.

I urge my fellow voters to become involved in the election process and vote for Proposition One. By voting yes, we are voting to maintain fast response times to fire and emergency medical services responses so important to our community.

Wayne Corey, Des Moines (publisher of www.publicscafe.org)

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