King County Fire Protection District 10 (Fire District 10) will hold two virtual meetings for community members with questions about the fire benefit charge renewal. The measure will appear on the election ballot being mailed to Fire District 10 voters next week.
The meetings will be held Wednesday, July 21, from 6-7 p.m. and Saturday, July 24, from 9-10 a.m. Members of the community can access the meetings through the fire district’s website at www.eastsidefire-rescue.org/154/Fire-District-10.
As part of Eastside Fire & Rescue, Fire District 10 funds emergency services through a fire levy and a voter-approved fire benefit charge. More than two dozen other communities have approved a fire benefit charge because they believe it is a fairer way to fund emergency services.
While a fire levy is based on a property’s assessed value, a fire benefit charge is based on a structure’s size and use. Smaller structures (such as single-family homes) are charged less than larger buildings (such as office buildings or shopping malls) because it takes fewer resources to defend them in a fire.
Voters in Fire District 10 first approved a fire benefit charge in 2003 and have renewed it every six years since that time. The current fire benefit charge will expire at the end of this year if not renewed and accounts for 23% of emergency services funding for district residents.
In 2017, the average fire benefit charge was $0.68 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Operating efficiencies from the Eastside Fire & Rescue partnership and higher assessed property values have helped lower the rate to $0.29 per $1,000.
King County Fire Protection District 10 and the City of Issaquah formed Eastside Fire & Rescue on January 1, 1999. In 2000, the cities of North Bend, Sammamish and King County Fire District 38 joined the partnership. Each city and fire district fund emergency services separately and contribute revenue to the partnership. More information on Eastside Fire & Rescue can be found at www.eastsidefire-rescue.org.