West Thurston Regional Fire Authority is requesting renewal of the maintenance and operations levy to supplement its regular levies for a period of four years. Passage of this levy will replace funding for your local Fire Department that will otherwise end this year (2022). Without replacing funding, layoffs of Firefighter/EMT's and the closing of fire stations may be necessary. This will impact rescue operations, emergency medical and fire suppression response capabilities for the entire region.
The primary funding sources for the Fire Department come from the residents and business of this district. Your local fire department does not receive any regular Federal, State or County funding.
Our current M & O levy rate collection has eroded to $0.84 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. The approximate rate ask is $1.60 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Approval of this proposition will cost approximately $13.33 per $100,000 in property valuation per month, for four years, beginning in 2023 and ending in 2026.
The statutory limit on the base tax levy only allows 1% increase each year over the prior year. In essence, that reduces the property owner’s tax rate annually but also reduces the amount of revenue provided for fire department services. See the example below:
The Fire District staff has concerns about the safety of its citizens and Firefighters. It is also important to note that:
• In the last 5 years (2017-2021), annual call volume has increased by 398 calls or 13.1%.
• In the last 9 years (2013-2021), annual call volume has increased by 988 calls or 40.4%.
• Upward trend expected to continue.
• 36% of the time West Thurston is managing 2 incidents at the same time.