Snohomish Fire District 4 considers property tax increase
SNOHOMISH - Fire District 4’s board of commissioners is busy putting together the 2014 budget to factor in new revenue from the successful 2013 levy.
Part of the discussion includes considering levying a 1 percent property tax rate increase.
The fire commission may act on the budget at its next meeting Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. at the department headquarters, 1525 Ave. D.
The most pressing question Fire Chief Ron Simmons said the board has regarding the new revenue is: “Where are we going to put it?”
The new emergency medical services levy that passed in August gives the fire department about $400,000 more for its EMS program. Before the levy renewal, the fire department was receiving just over $700,000.
Simmons said he expects the EMS levy to bring in around $1.2 million next year, meaning the department will no longer have to use money from other budget funds to support EMS operations.
“With our fire budget, we’re going to have more funds to use on that side of our operations because the EMS levy passed,” Simmons said. “We’ll have more funds to deal with our facilities, vehicles and equipment, training and personnel — we want to bring back a couple of the people that we’ve lost over the years.”
Before any decisions are made on how much the department will collect, some decisions need to be made about how much money is needed to complete the to-do list of the department, Simmons said.
Maple Avenue fire station temporarily closed
The fire station on Maple Avenue temporarily closed last week after structural damage was found to the roof and its supports.
Simmons said he hopes the repairs don’t take longer than one month.
For now, “it’s not safe to be in there,” Simmons said.
The structural members of the roof trusses have started to come apart, Simmons said.
Engineers are looking at the issue to identify how it happened, Simmons said. A cost estimate is not ready yet.
The integrity of the roof is compromised enough so that movement such as operating the doors could cause the roof to collapse, he said.
The crews regularly assigned to the station at 427 Maple Ave. have been redistributed to either the Three Lakes station or the district headquarters on Avenue D.
Fire response times may be affected, Simmons said. He expects that it may increase anywhere from seconds to a couple of minutes, but he said the delay won’t be significant.
The Maple Avenue station’s crews are able to get to downtown a little quicker than the other stations.
Fire District 4 has the capital funds to make the repairs, Simmons said, but the issue is more about the repair time.
The issue was unexpected.
“It was totally a fluke that we found it this morning,” Simmons said Wednesday, Oct. 29 when it was discovered.
A maintenance crew discovered the issue while working on ventilation in the attic area.
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