Fire commissioner makes citizen pitch for support of levy | Letter to the Editor

I am on the Board of Fire Commissioners for King County Fire Protection District No. 28, but I am writing this letter as a private citizen and resident of the city of Enumclaw.

  • Friday, March 25, 2016 3:19pm
  • Opinion

I am on the Board of Fire Commissioners for King County Fire Protection District No. 28, but I am writing this letter as a private citizen and resident of the city of Enumclaw.

In the past, Fire District No. 28 and the Board of Commissioners struggled with financial and public perception issues. However, since that time the Board of Commissioners and your fire department have made great strides to cut and stabilize expenditures and to establish a new sustainable budget where all non-essential expenditures have now been cut. Your fire commissioners have worked very hard to be good stewards of tax payer money. This levy will enable us to replace aging apparatus, safety gear and equipment. It will allow your fire department to restore critical staffing levels necessary to meet the growing number of calls for service.

Here is a short list of just some of the many successes the board and the fire department have worked hard to achieve:

• Greater transparency, responsive leadership and fiscal responsibility;

• Open, regular meetings at convenient times so tax payers can attend;

• The appointment of a new legal advisor;

• The appointment of a new fire chief;

• Implementation of several new revenue generating options;

• Two new board members, approved by the voters and appointed – moving us from three to five members – allowing better representation, decision making and greater accountability;

• Firefighters partnering with the board of commissioners to help reduce costs, thereby saving tax payer money.

All of us living in this fire district are already invested in our fire department. We all want an efficiently and effectively run fire department that provides the best critical life saving services for our community, now and into the future.

Unfortunately, our current levy rate does not allow our fire department to replace aging vehicles or expired emergency gear, or to keep up with the increasing demands for service.

Rejection of the levy will impact staffing and reduce service levels which will ultimately affect our rating status with the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau, (WSRB). The WSRB is Washington’s premier source of property underwriting and rating information for the insurance industry. Our WSRB rating is used by insurance companies to set homeowners insurance rates for the entire community. Our current WSRB rating will go up if fire department staffing is reduced and/or aging equipment and apparatus isn’t replaced. When our fire department’s rating goes up, so too follows business and residential insurance rates. Even one point higher on the WSRB rating scale can result in higher insurance costs for businesses and home-owners and those higher rates may be greater than the cost to tax payers of approving the levy.

We are all currently paying approximately $1.02/per $1,000 dollars of assessed property values. The levy increase equates to approximately 48 cents more.

Approval of the levy ensures service levels can be maintained and vital emergency apparatus and EMS (emergency medical services) equipment can be replaced. With levy approval the board and fire department may even be able to lower our current WSRB rating, to help bring fire insurance rates down for our customers.

We invite our district residents to attend one of the scheduled “Town Meetings” hosted by our fire department where questions can be answered or you can tune into the city’s television channel (21) and catch a fire commission board meeting where factual data concerning the levy and the district budget is thoroughly presented. For more information, please check out the fire department’s web page at, www.kcfd28.org

The approval of the fire department levy is unanimously supported by the Enumclaw City Council and many of our local business and community leaders. But, we also need your support too.

Please join me in approving the Fire District No. 28 Levy.

Thank you.

Stan McCall

Enumclaw

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