August 22, 2019 - Thursday
 
Fire Levy Lift Information

Fire Levy Lid Lift on August Ballot

Like most fire districts, daily operations are funded through two voter-approved levies paid through property taxes. The combined rate of $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value includes $1.50 for fire and 50 cents for emergency medical service.

Levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire district to the same amount of revenue per year, plus a one percent increase allowed by law. This one percent is not keeping up with rising call volumes or inflation. That's why voters are asked to "lift the lid" and restore funding for emergency services to previously-approved levy rates.

For example, Fire District 7 is asking voters to restore its fire levy from $1.36 back to $1.50/$1,000 in the August Primary election. This would cost the owner of a $450,000 home $63 per year or $5.25 per month. The lid lift would last for one year and can never exceed the voter-approved rate of $1.50/$1,000.

Funding will be used to respond to higher call volumes and maintain emergency service levels. Specifically, it will fund emergency personnel, equipment, apparatus, medical supplies, and some facility repairs or replacement.

Here are links to additional information about the fire levy lid lift. Fire Chief Gary Meek also welcomes your questions at gmeek@snofire7.org or (360) 794-7666.

  • What's on my ballot?
    Snohomish County Fire District 7 is asking voters to return the fire levy back to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This is called a “fire levy lid lift.”
  • Why is my fire district asking for a lid lift?
    The fire levy provides a majority of funding for emergency services. A lid lift will help us keep up with increasing call volumes and rising inflation rates.
  • Have voters approved this amount before?
    Yes, voters approved a fire levy of $1.50/$1,000 in 2017. The fire levy has fallen to $1.36/$1,000 since that time.
  • How much will the lid lift cost?
    The 14-cent lid lift would cost the owner of a $450,000 home $63 per year ($5.25 per month) to maintain emergency service levels.
  • Why do levy rates fall?
    Levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire district to roughly the same amount of revenue per year, plus a one percent increase allowed by law. This one percent is not keeping up with the demand for service or inflation which is almost three percent for our area.
  • What will it pay for?
    The fire levy pays for daily operations, such as emergency personnel, equipment, apparatus, medical supplies, and facility repairs or replacement.
  • What is the fire district doing to make our tax dollars stretch further?
    Fire District 7 has partnered and/or merged with neighboring agencies to share costs for programs and services. For example, Monroe merged with Fire District 7, which reduced its combined levy rate for emergency services. Lake Stevens also is considering a merger to improve emergency services for both communities and be more cost-effective for taxpayers.

  • How does this levy affect the potential merger with Lake Stevens?
    It doesn’t. Taxpayers in both fire districts have approved the same fire levy rate for emergency services of $1.50/$1,000. This rate would be the same regardless of the proposed merger.
  • Doesn't the fire district get more taxes because of increasing property values?
    The fire district is limited to a one percent revenue increase per year by state law regardless of how much your home appreciates in value. In other words, we do not receive a 15 percent increase in revenue if your home value increases by that amount.
  • How long will it last?
    The lid lift would last for six years and cannot exceed the voter-approved rate of $1.50/$1,000.
  • What about taxes from "new growth"?
    This tax revenue is used to make sure an emergency response (including adequate staffing levels, apparatus, facilities, equipment, and supplies) is available for new homes in the fire district.
  • Who votes on this lid lift?
    Only registered voters in Fire District 7 vote on the lid lift. Mill Creek voters will not see this measure on their election ballot. The city contracts for emergency services with the fire district and pays for associated costs in staffing the Mill Creek fire stations.