Proposition One – Please Vote!
Proposal to restore its regular property tax levy to a rate of $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value to be assessed in 2019 and collected in 2020.
Your Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority will have an April election to restore the tax levy limit to $1.00 effective January 1, 2020 for tax collections in April of 2020. This measure proposes to continue the tax portion of the two-part funding system that included a benefit charge. The Special Election on April 24, 2018, will include Proposition No. 1 for the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority. The ballot measure will ask voters the following question:
Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Proposition No. 1
The Board of Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority adopted Resolution No. 153 concerning a proposition to maintain and adequately fund Puget Sound Fire operations.
This proposition authorizes the RFA to restore its regular property tax levy to a rate of $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value to be assessed in 2019 and collected in 2020 and authorizes annual adjustments by the greater of 1% or the annual CPI-W for Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue as reported in June of the levy year for each of the five succeeding years. The maximum allowable levy in 2024 shall serve as the base for the subsequent levy limitations as provided by Chapter 84.55 RCW.
Should this proposition be:
In 2010, the passage of a ballot measure created your Regional Fire Authority and a two-part funding system including the property tax in combination with a benefit charge. Under State Law, regional fire authorities which collect benefit charges under Chapter 52.26 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW) have reduced taxing authority. Benefit charges can constitute no more than 60% of the annual operating budget, and a fire authority’s maximum property tax rate is reduced from $1.50 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The benefit charge is a service fee based on the square footage of your structure and the amount of resources needed to extinguish a fire. The benefit charge is currently 51.5% of the overall operating budget. Due to voter approved limits, property tax collections cannot exceed a 1% increase per year. Because of this limitation, the effective property tax rate across the fire authority has decreased to $0.706 per $1,000 of assessed value. The benefit charge portion of our funding has gradually increased to offset the slower growth in property tax collections and operational needs of our growing community. If this measure is approved, it would restore the $1.00 per thousand property tax and decrease reliance on the benefit charge. With the restoration of the property tax to $1.00 per thousand the department will be able to lower and recalculate the benefit charge and apply that reduction to all parcels in the fire authority based on size and use.
The combination of the benefit charge and property tax constitute 82% of the budget for the operation of your fire department. The remaining 18% comes from grants, outside contracts and the Medic-One levy.
This is a re-balancing of the two-part funding system so that the department can continue to maintain and improve fire protection, prevention, emergency medical services and the protection of life and property in the Puget Sound Fire response area. We encourage you to vote and weigh in on this important issue.