Another levy wanted by East Pierce | Letter to the Editor

It never ends! East Pierce Fire District, never satisfied with the money it gets, wants another maintenance and operations levy entitled Proposition 1.

In the upcoming August primary election, the district is asking taxpayers to replace the existing soon-to-expire two-year levy with a four-year levy. And, not only that, they want a 55 percent increase in the levy amount to boot.

The existing levy has cost taxpayers $3.1 million per year, but Proposition 1 will cost East Pierce taxpayers $4.8 million per year; a 55 percent increase. Are you guaranteed a 55 percent increase in pay for the next four years?

They say they are not making as much money as they used to and costs are rising. Welcome to the club. The recession has forced us all to make drastic cuts while our expenses have increased.

They say they have made pay cuts, leading one to believe that base-rates of pay have been reduced. But, in reality, future contractual pay increases have simply been deferred. Our district is not the wealthiest, nor the busiest, yet our district’s fire chiefs and firefighters are among the highest paid in the USA.

They say the extra money means that they can hire more firefighters. Read the ballot measure. The only thing that the district is promising to do is to collect 19.2 million extra dollars, and spend it on anything that qualifies as maintenance and operations.

They have some very big and very expensive plans for the future. Bailing them out with even more money per year, for a longer period of time is not going to force the reforms necessary to build a long-term sustainable service that we can afford.

Defeat this levy. There is nothing to feel guilty about.

The commissioners, the management, and the union have to hear us – the taxpayer – loud and clear. “We are not going to be paralyzed by fear. We are not a bottomless pit of money. Today’s economic challenges demand new ways of providing service through innovative thinking and slashing costs in order to prepare for the big expenses to come.”

Jacquelyn Whalen, Milton

Be Brave! – Vote No! Committee