They Snoqualmie City Council voted unanimously at its July 25th meeting to place a measure on the November 8th ballot asking voters to approve a levy lid lift to pay for two additional police officers and one additional fire fighter.
According to a staff report, following the City Council Retreat in February, it was determined that additional funds were needed in order to maintain the city’s current public safety service levels.
Over the past 15 years, Snoqualmie’s population has tripled, yet per the report, the fire department has only added two firefighter positions and the number of police officers is the same as it was back in 2000.
The City says in order to maintain appropriate service levels for police, fire and emergency services – more funding is needed, but per state law, any individual taxing district is limited in increasing its portion of property taxes to one percent annually. If a taxing district wants to go above that 1% limit, like the City of Snoqualmie is proposing, it must be approved by a simple majority of voters.
According to a city press release, “The additional positions would enable the City to maintain appropriate levels of service for police, fire, and emergency medical services for Basic Life Support and emergency response; meet the Snoqualmie Fire Department’s goal and nationally recognized service standard of having three firefighters on duty 24 hours a day available to respond to more than one fire or emergency medical call at a time; maintain current response times to 911 calls; and maintain the “No Call Too Small” community standard of responding to every 911 call.”
The ballot measure will ask voters living within the city limits of Snoqualmie to consider raising the city’s regular property tax levy by [up to] .23 per $1000 of assessed valuation, effective in 2017.
For the owner of the average $530,000 Snoqualmie home, the cost would be about $120 per year or $10 per month. For a $265,000 Snoqualmie home, the cost would be about $61 per year or $5 per month.