Budget and Funding
In 2015 the West Thurston Regional Fire Authority levied property tax at the same rate as previous years $1.50/1000 AV. A home owner with a home valued at $185,000.00 dollars will pay $274.50 in 2015. That’s approximately $23 dollars per month. In fact since the creation of the RFA; tax rates have remained at $1.50; however, the total amount of regular levy general fund taxes that the RFA collected are 16% lower than in 2009. The reduced amount collected is due to the decline in property values.
The General Fund revenue is utilized primarily to fund delivery of fire protection including structural and wildland suppression, emergency medical, rescue, prevention and public education services. This fund includes firefighter and EMT wages and benefits, uniforms, personal protective equipment, facility and apparatus maintenance, fuel and energy costs and all other supplies or goods and services.
Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Levy:
In 2014 WTRFA proposed a single year (approximate) 0.33 cent /1000 AV M&O Levy to be collected in 2015. The funds collected are intended to be used to maintain staffing levels for two years 2015 & 2016.
Voters authorized the development and purchase of new fire stations, fire engines, water tenders and other major expenses (capital projects) by authorizing the Fire Department to issue bonds over a period of years, much like when someone finances and purchases a new home or automobile. Taxpayers are assessed a tax for these purchases. The Fire District 1 initial Bond rate 0.33 cents per thousand AV and the Fire District 11 initial Bond rate was 0.38 cents per thousand AV. Although these rate may fluctuate up or down each year based on property values, under the Regional Fire Authority the Bond tax rate will remain the same as it would under the individual fire district. Bond funds can only be used for what they were intended i.e. fire station construction-remodel, purchase of fire fighting and other equipment necessary to deliver emergency services; they are prohibited from being used to pay firefighter wages or many other items often funded from a General Fund.