Informational town hall meetings on Fire District 28 fire levy set

The voting public has six upcoming opportunities to quiz local fire officials about the “lid lift” measure that will appear on November’s general election ballot.

If approved, the proposal would give fire commissioners the authority to increase tax collections on all property in the district. According to Fire Chief Joe Clow, the district now collects at a rate of almost $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed property value. November’s ballot item would allow collections up to $1.50 per $1,000.

The first of three town hall meetings is slated for Tuesday at district headquarters, 1330 Wells St. in Enumclaw. A second meeting is planned for Oct. 1 at the district’s Cumberland station, 35420 Vezaie-Cumberland Rd. The final town hall session is set for Oct. 8, again at district headquarters. All three begin at 7 p.m.

In addition, information will be available during regular meetings of the district’s fire commissioners. Those sessions will begin at 10 a.m. Oct. 7 and Nov. 4 at the Wells Street building.

The city of Enumclaw and Fire District 28 have a long, shared history that dramatically shifted on Jan. 1, 2011, when – through an annexation process – the decision-making authority transferred from the city to the district. Property owners within the fire district boundaries, including those within the city limits, share the cost of fire protection and emergency medical services.

A recent press release issued by the fire district admits that the transition has sometimes been difficult. “The Board of Commissioners recognizes and understands that, at times, decisions may not have been popular and possibly misunderstood,” the release states.

The department also used the press release to detail how it has, among other things:

• added to the ranks of full-time, career firefighters. The additional employees help guarantee firefighter safety and allows the department to respond to multiple calls with existing staff;

• reduced response times in the Cumberland area by adding living space to the Cumberland station;

• taken over ambulance transport service, transporting patients quicker while also creating a source of revenue that pays for three firefighter positions.

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