August 23, 2017 - Wednesday
 
Fire Levy Lift Information

Fire Levy Lid Lift on August Ballot

During the August Primary Election, Fire District 7 is asking voters to approve the restoration of the fire levy. Based on the expected growth in the fire district, the fire levy lid lift would represent a 5-cent per $1,000 increase for property owners in former Monroe Fire District 3. Property owners in the former Fire District 7 would see an 8-cent per $1,000 increase. Due to state law and because of the merger, all property owners will pay the same combined rate for fire and EMS in 2018.

In 2016 emergency personnel responded to over 10,790 emergency calls, 20 percent of which were fire related. Fire Chief Gary Meek says that the district has worked hard to manage costs and improve efficiencies for taxpayers. However, the demand for emergency services often outpaces the revenue received to provide it.

State law limits a fire district's annual tax increase to one percent per year, causing the voter-approved levy rate for fire and EMS to decline over time. That's why fire agencies across the state regularly ask voters to restore funding through lid lifts.

In 2008, voters in Fire District 7 approved the fire levy for $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Over time, the levy has fallen to $1.42 (FD7) / $1.45 former FD3) per $1,000. If approved by voters, the lid lift would cost an additional $20 per year, based on a $400,000 home, for property owners in former Monroe Fire District 3, and $32 for that same home in former Fire District 7 area.

"We want our community to understand how emergency services are funded," said Chief Meek. "Lid lifts are one tool we have to keep up with rising costs to provide service and allow us to not have large spikes in taxes for several years."

Levy funds are used for emergency personnel, training and certifications, fire station construction, facility maintenance, fire & EMS supplies, apparatus and equipment replacement. It is through strategic financial planning and voter support that the fire district has been able to fund capital purchases such as fire station construction and fire apparatus purchases without asking voters for excess levies and/or bond issues since 1978.

Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters July 14th, and must be returned or postmarked by August 1st (Primary Election Day) to count.

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