EPFR To Place Regular Fire Levy Lid Lift on Nov 2nd Ballot

This November, the East Pierce Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners will be asking voters to consider a lid lift of the regular fire levy, which will restore the levy to its previous voter-approved amount. As you may recall, this levy was on the ballot in August but failed to receive the votes necessary to pass.

Please watch this video which was created to help educate our voters on the purpose of Proposition 1. Additionally, below you find answers to several frequently asked questions.

Watch this video to learn more about the November 2021 lid lift.


Frequently Asked Questions

Proposition 1 – Regular Fire Levy
November 2, 2021 General Election


Q:
What is a levy lid lift?

A: In Washington State, a lid lift allows voters to approve a taxing district resetting its levy to the statutory limit set by the state. In the case of a fire district, that limit is $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Our current levy rate is $1.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

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Q: Why does East Pierce Fire & Rescue need a lid lift of the regular fire levy?

A: Over the last decade, we have all felt the tremendous growth our area is experiencing. As our community grows, so does the demand placed on your fire department. In 2021 alone, we are experiencing an increase in emergency responses of over 10%, resulting in more than 2500 additional emergency unit responses this year. At the same time, we are all experiencing the cost of goods and services increasing. The lid lift allows East Pierce Fire & Rescue to keep pace with the population growth and increased demand for services.

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Q: My property tax valuation continues to go up each year. Doesn't that mean you are getting more money from my property taxes?

A: One of the most common questions I get asked is why the fire department needs additional money when property values continue to climb. In Washington State, fire districts are limited to tax collection growth of 1% per year regardless of our residents' increase in their property values. As our population and 911 emergencies grow at a rate far greater than 1% per year, we are challenged to meet the growing demand to provide service. Proposition 1 will also ask for the ability to collect up to six percent (6%) for the three subsequent years following the first year at the $1.50 per $1,000 assessed value. The tax rate can never exceed the collection rate of $1.50.

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Q: Is this a new tax?

A: No, this is not a new tax. This proposition only restores the levy to its previous voter-approved amount.

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Q: Can you use the money from the 2018 bond to hire firefighters?

A: No, the bond issue passed in 2018 cannot fund operational costs. The bond is limited to funding capital projects and is committed to building five fire stations and upgrading our emergency vehicles. By state law, it cannot be used for operational costs such as hiring firefighters.

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Q: Does East Pierce Fire & Rescue charge more than other Pierce County fire departments?

A: No, as you can see below, East Pierce Fire & Rescue remains the most cost-effective fire department in Pierce County and is one of the few that can operate without some additional tax revenue stream such as an excess levy or a fire benefit charge.










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Q: How much will I pay if Proposition 1 is approved?

A: In the example below, the owner of a $450,000 home would see an increase of $63 per year (or $5.25 per month).

 Assessed Value of Property
(median home value in Pierce County)
 $1.36 per
$1,000 of AV
 $1.50 per
$1,000 of AV
Increase 
 Annual Payment  $612  $675  $63 per year
 Monthly Payment  $51  $56.25  $5.25 per month

Note: This compares the rate impact on your 2021 property value.

Questions About the Regular Fire Levy?

For questions about Proposition 1, or to schedule a meeting or discussion with your group, please contact Fire Chief Parkinson at (253) 863-1800 or email chief@eastpiercefire.org.

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