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West Thurston Regional Fire Authority (RFA) is comprised of two fire districts (Rochester/Grand

Mound #1, and Littlerock #11), and is funded primarily through a combined Regular (non-voted)

and Maintenance & Operations (M&O) Levy (voted) funding mechanism. These funds enable the

RFA, which is the largest geographical and primarily rural fire department in the county, to provide

services comparable to city departments. The two West Thurston districts are rated amongst the

best of any non-city fire departments in the region, with a Public Protection Classification (PPC) of

Four (4), which is equal to the bordering city of Tumwater. The improved PPC rating means

that property owners save money on fire insurance premiums. However, the real value to the

citizens is adequate numbers of well trained and equipped firefighter/emergency medical

personnel arriving timely to the emergency.

Service Costs


The Regular and M& O tax revenue is utilized to fund the delivery of Emergency Medical, Rescue,

Wildland and Structural Fire Suppression Services. The revenue also funds investigation, 

prevention, and public education services. The RFA utilizes these funds to pay 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. Some of the revenue is also used to replace fire engines, aid units, and incident command apparatus and equipment.

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Because of statutory limitations on Regular Property Tax levy, the amount of regular tax levied 

per assessed $1000 decreases as property values increase, thereby saving property owners taxes

as their property values go up.

The Maintenance & Operations (M&O) levy is voted on by the district citizens, and is necessary

to supplement the Regular Property tax revenue and ensure continued effective and efficient

operations of the department. In 2015, community representatives formed the Citizens' Advisory

Committee , and advised the RFA to implement the M&O funding option as a means to prevent

firefighter layoffs and to maintain service delivery. The Advisory committee recommended the

RFA " adequate revenue to staff all the staff-able fire stations (more boots on the ground)"

and maintain or improve service delivery and response times. In 2016 and 2019, voters in each

fire district (#1 and #11) approved a three-year M&O levy. By the end of 2017, the RFA improved

emergency service delivery by staffing 4-5 fire stations on a more regular basis, and improving

emergency response times, thanks to voter support of the M&O levy.  However, this M&O levy expired at the end of 2022, leaving a $2.4M gap in annual funding for future years.

A third funding option is a Bond Levy voted on by the district citizens for a specific purpose such

as purchasing equipment or constructing facilities. District #1's bond was paid off in 2020; District #11's bond will be paid off in 2025.

The RFA is funded almost entirely by the residents and business owners who are located within

the emergency response zone, and receives no established Federal, State or county funding. A

minor percentage of revenue is received from State and Federal grant funding and through patient transport revenue. EMS levy dollars collected by Thurston County Medic One (in accordance with 84.52.069) remain primarily with Medic One; a small amount is passed through to the department.

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