The East Pierce Fire and Rescue Maintenance and Operations levy may be down, but it is not out.
After a few revisions, the levy will return to the Nov. 5 general election ballot.
The levy on the ballot will be the same as the levy voters passed in 2012, except it will not be seeking funds for 12 new firefighters. Renewing the levy will keep it in effect for an additional four years.
During the Aug. 5 primary elections, 55.8 percent of votes were yes for the levy, and 48.12 percent was no. State law required 60 percent to pass the levy.
Fire Chief Jerry Thorson said that the message voters sent during the primary elections was they support the levy, “but don’t support increasing staff and adding a new tax level,” which is the reason the fire commissioners decided to lower the levy for the general election.
East Pierce Fire and Rescue is funded at a base rate of $1.50 per thousand dollars of assessed property value for fire services and 50 cents per thousand dollars of assessed value for emergency medical services.
The levy passed in 2012 added 37 cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value to the base rate. Renewing the levy will keep it at the current rate through 2015, “maintaining exactly what we have right now,” said Dale Mitchell, the chair of the fire department’s board of fire commissioners. After the first year at 37 cents, the levy will then drop to 36 cents in 2016 and $35 cents in 2017 and 2018.
If voters do not renew the levy, Thorson said the fire department’s budget will be cut by 14 percent.