Fall City Fire District puts M&O levy on November ballot; asks voters to approve increase from current levels

In early June the Fall City Fire Department – King County Fire District No. 27 – announced it would be putting a measure requesting voter approval of an excess levy on the November 3rd general election ballot.

Fire District Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 2020-01, requesting that King County Elections submit a Maintenance & Operations (M&O) levy to Fall City voters – who last year rejected a ballot measure to merge the district with Fire District 10 and make the Fall City Fire Department part of Eastside Fire & Rescue.

According to the Fire District 27, the purpose of the levy is to maintain the current level of fire protection and emergency medical services.

This proposed M&O levy replaces an existing levy which expires this year. It would would be collected in 2021-2024. In 2021 the levy amount would be $650,000 and would increase each year by about 4%.

The actual levy amounts would be $650,000 in 2021, $676,000 in 2022, $703,000 in 2023, and $731,000 in 2024.

The estimated levy rate is estimated to be $0.47208 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, which represents an increase of $0.12710 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

According to a district news release, for a property valued at $500,000, the increase is estimated to be $63.55 annually or about $5.29 per month.

In order to pass, the November ballot measure requires a 60% super-majority and a minimum 40% voter turnout from the previous general election.

The M&O levy is in addition to the regular property tax levy which is subject to an annual increase limit of 1%.

Fire District 27 explained the cost of most goods, services and labor has steadily increased annually at a rate exceeding 1%, which has necessitated the increased M&O levy.

As part of the election process, the Fire District 27 is also looking for individuals interested in participating on committees to write the statements for and against the ballot measure. These statements will appear in the voters’ pamphlet along with the description of the ballot measure.

Individuals wanting to participate need to be a registered voter and live in the Fire District. Letters of interest can be submitted to the district office by 5PM on July 10th, addressed to the Board of Commissioners at King County Fire District 27, PO Box 609, Fall City, WA 98024, or email to king27@king27fire.com.

Fall City Fire Station

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  • Fall City residents had a unique opportunity last year to greatly expand and improve the fire department’s operations, at a lower cost, with a District 27 and District 10 merger. Due to a misinformation campaign run by a small amount of people with ulterior motives, the measure narrowly failed by around 150 votes. Now taxpayers are being asked to pay more so that the department can limp along at its current service levels, with little opportunity for growth or expansion of tools or training due to lack of budget.
    District 27 voters who care about the fire department and its members — or those who don’t think about the fire department much at all, except to expect that it will be there if they ever need it — should let the Fire Commissioners know that they want the District to explore other options. Including a partnership with Eastside Fire and Rescue. This would greatly expand the fire service levels in Fall City, and offer the firefighters more opportunity in their careers, more job stability, and more training and equipment. This can be accomplished for potentially less, or at least the same, amount of money as is being requested here. Don’t let a great opportunity get away twice.
    Simply voting for a new M&O levy for a few extra dollars will just freeze the fire department’s operations for the next 3 years with little opportunity for growth or improvement. The firefighters and the citizens deserve better.
    As a former District 27 employee, I care about my brothers there and fully support them. A failure of this M&O levy could be disastrous for them. But there are other options. There is still time for people who care about Fall City and the fire department, to have their voices heard. Reach out to the Commissioners, and let them know that you want them to explore ALL options. Not just those that sacrifice growth and improvement for the sake of a name and some illusion of “independence.”

  • Living Snoqualmie