Enumclaw Fire Department, Mountain View Fire and Rescue levy lid lifts passing | Aug. 8 Update

Support for both levies are staying strong, though numbers have shifted since the initial vote count.

Ballots are still being counted, but both Enumclaw Fire Department and Mountain View Fire and Rescue’s fire levy lid lift measures are ahead in votes.

The most recent results were uploaded onto King County Election’s website on Aug. 5.

EFD voters appear to support their levy lid lift 62.24% to 37.76%; Mountain View residents are so far passing their measure 52.98% to 47.02%.

“All we can say is thank you to our community for partnering with us to continue to save lives and property. We’re just so grateful for their support,” said EFD Fire Chief Randy Fehr. “We also want taxpayers to know we will report back to them as we make improvements. This is your fire department, and we answer to you.”

King County shows it counted 6,248 ballots from EFD voters by Aug. 5, about 42.77% of registered voters in the area.

The last time Enumclaw was part of an August primary was in 2010, where locals voted to annex the city of Enumclaw into Enumclaw Fire Department’s district. Nearly 70% of registered locals turned in a ballot, though the total number of registered voters numbered just over 6,000, compared to the 14,609 registered voters this year.

The county has counted 13,866 ballots from Mountain View voters, about 42.06% of registered voters.

There’s still roughly 7% of ballots to be counted in King County overall, so results may shift as more ballots are counted, though it’s unlikely either ballot measure will flip

Both measures asked district residents to lift their current fire levies up to the maximum rate of $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value allowed to departments that provide both fire and emergency medical services.

EFD’s rate had fallen to $1.36, while Mountain View’s currently sits at $1.31.

Departments can normally only collect 1% more in revenue than the previous year. However, property values often increase more than 1% every year, meaning the levy has to depreciate to compensate.

Approving EFD’s levy means someone with $500,000 in property will be expected to be taxed an additional $70 a year in property taxes, from $680 to $750.

Mountain View’s residents would be taxed slightly more at the same property value — a $95 increase, from $655 to $750.

EFD’s levy also allows the department to collect up to 6% more in revenue than the previous year, rather than the state-determined 1%.

Mountain View’s levy does not have such a provision.

Both departments have said the levy lid lift is necessary to keep up with increasing call volumes and the rising cost of service. EMS calls are the vast majority of emergencies both departments respond to.

EFD noted a 40% increase in general call volume over the last decade; EMS calls rose 13% for the first half of 2022 over the previous year.

Mountain View’s Fire Chief Greg Smith said call volumes for him has risen 30% over the last five years; EMS calls increased 12% in 2021 over the previous year.