The ballot measure that proposed combining Fire District 38, which covers unincorporated areas of North Bend and Snoqualmie, with Fire District 10 to create an Eastside Fire Authority appears to be failing after initial April special election vote tallies from King County Elections.
As of Wednesday, April 27, 2016, the measure called Eastside Fire Authority Proposition 1 had 56% of voters approving it, but the measure needs a 60% supermajority approval threshold for passage.
King County Elections showed about 30% of voters returning their ballots for the April 26th special election, which is a typical turnout for special elections.
According to Fire Districts 10 and 38, in recent years they have struggled to keep up with the rising costs of providing emergency services. By joining together, the districts said fixed costs for the agencies would be shared by more people, making it more efficient for taxpayers.
Both districts are currently part of the regional partnership with Eastside Fire & Rescue to provide fire and emergency services to residents – which would stay intact under the proposed Fire Authority.
Under the Eastside Regional Fire Authority, a majority of the cost to provide emergency services would be funded through a fire levy of $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The remaining amount would be collected through a benefit charge, which is set through a public process each year.
The passage of the measure would’ve meant a tax decrease for property owners in Fire District 10, which serves serves Carnation and the unincorporated areas of May Valley, Tiger Mountain, Mirrormont, and Preston, but a slight increase for property owners in Fire District 38 – estimated at $0.20 per $1,000. That increase was due to Fire District 10 had already having the voter approved benefit charge, whereas Fire District 38 does not.
There is no word yet if the ballot measure will be tried again. Similar Regional Fire Authority measures in Kent and Renton were passing.
King County will update the April 26th election results each business day at 4:30PM until the final results are certified on May 6, 2016.