As King County Fire Districts 10 and 38 prepare to ask voters a second time to approve merging the two agencies into one Regional Fire Authority in an effort to reduce costs and protect longterm service levels, they’ve scheduled two public meetings to answer questions about their proposal that is on the November 8
General Election ballot.
Fire District 38 covers the unincorporated areas around Snoqualmie and North Bend. With passage, District 38 residents would see an average tax increase of .20/1000 assessed value. District 10 residents would see a decrease of about .23/1000 assessed value.
Many fire districts are merging to share costs and improve efficiencies for taxpayers. As fire districts lose property and tax revenue to neighboring cities from annexations, district officials say that working together will maintain emergency service levels and the quality of emergency services families and businesses receive.
The disparity in the proposed tax increase vs. decrease for Districts 10 and 38 homes is attributed to the fact that District 10 voters previously approved a tax benefit charge funding model and District 38 has not. The benefit charge replaces about one-third of the fire levy and is based on the size of a structure instead of the property’s value, which is seen as a more equitable funding method because it costs less to defend smaller structures during a fire.
Currently Fire District 38 only has a fire levy and district officials say that is not enough to maintain service levels based on future annexations by surrounding cities.11 communities, including District 10, have already approved the fire levy and benefit charge emergency funding model.
Both districts have created detailed information materials, including a video that explains the proposal in greater details and a calculator so property owners can compare what they would pay for emergency service costs from 2016 to 2017 under the proposed fire authority. Those materials are available HERE
There are also two meetings scheduled next week to answer any questions residents might have about the proposed Regional Fire Authority.
The meetings are expected to last an hour and the public is invited to attend:
- Wednesday, October 19th, at 7PM, Station 78 – 20720 SE May Valley Rd., Issaquah, WA 98027
- Thursday, October 20th, at 7PM, Station 87 – 500 Maloney Grove Ave. SE, North Bend, WA 98045
Community members who are unable to attend one of the meetings are encouraged to contact Commissioner Mike Mitchell with questions. Commissioner Mitchell chairs the fire authority planning committee and can be reached at (425) 999-2174 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Many fire districts are merging to reduce costs and improve efficiencies for taxpayers,” said Commissioner Mike Mitchell. “Long-term, this will maintain service levels and quality emergency services for our communities.”
Fire District 10 serves May Valley, Tiger Mountain, Mirrormont, Preston, and the City of Carnation. Fire District 38 covers the unincorporated areas around North Bend and Snoqualmie. Both districts contract with Eastside Fire & Rescue.