Everyone's heading to the polls Tuesday
April 30, 2009 · Updated 2:34 PM
Fire district 'lid lift' is the only local issue on a crowded ballot
By Brenda Sexton
King County Fire Protection District No. 28 firefighters and their counterparts in the city of Enumclaw are asking voters to approve Proposition No. 1 when they go to the polls Tuesday.
"We're not asking for the moon," District No. 28 Fire Commissioner David Hannity said. "We're just trying to get back to where we were."
According to the King County voter pamphlet, District No. 28 is placing a lid lift proposition on the Nov. 2 ballot. The proposition would authorize the property tax levy rate to remain at $1 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The proposition would provide voters with the opportunity to exceed the limitation imposed by Initiative 747, which would limit regular property tax revenue to 101 percent of the previous year's revenue, regardless of the authorized rate of $1, which was initially approved by voters in approximately 1986.
Hannity said Initiative 747 took funding away from the fire district. He said fire departments like District No. 28, which serves the Plateau area outside the city of Enumclaw in the Veazie and Krain areas, are down to 70 cents per $1,000.
"We're just literally trying to keep the lights on," he said. "I'm not saying we're broke, but the extra money will help. We're trying to be proactive before it hits us."
According to the voter pamphlet, approval of the proposition would allow District No. 28, which splits its operating costs with the city of Enumclaw department, to maintain its current level of services. Rejection, the pamphlet points out, would lead to the loss of almost $157,000 in projected tax revenue, which could cut into service, including cancellation of future emergency equipment purchases, possible firefighter layoffs and the potential elimination of other services. It would also delay service improvements like station construction and additional personnel necessary to accommodate growth on the Plateau.
Brenda Sexton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.