By MICHAEL WHITNEY
Published March 22, 2023
Snohomish Fire asking for levy restoration
SNOHOMISH — Fire District 4 will be asking voters this August to restore its levy rate to $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property tax value.
The levy rate is up for renewal this year. Voters approved restoring the levy in 2011 and 2017.
The district’s levy rate is $1.14 per $1,000 this year. The district says the levy restoration would cost the owner of a $500,000 home an additional $15 per month.
Passage is worth a difference of about $4.2 million to the district's budget.
If voters approve, the levy money would fund having enough firefighters to have a fire engine and medic unit in service at the same time. The money would be there to let this arrangement last for six years.
Passage also would let the district not do financing when it builds a centrally located station to functionally replace the undersized Maple Avenue station. The new station could be built on a property along Pine Avenue.
The levy rate erodes over time, and is not tied to inflation. It erodes because the rate is calculated by adding up a value for what all the properties in the district are worth, and then collecting taxes on that figure. The levy lid lift measure asks the value figure to be reset and the rate to return back to $1.50.
In February, the district shared by press release that "Call volumes for Snohomish County Fire District 4 have increased 34 percent in the last 10 years. The fire district responds to an average of 4,500 calls per year, of which 60 percent are for emergency medical service (EMS). In addition, overlapping calls — more than two emergency calls that come in at the same time — happen 28 percent of the time."
The levy vote would need a 50% majority to pass.
Last week, the fire board finalized placing it to the ballot.
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