EPFR To Place Two Levy Measures on August 3rd Ballot

The East Pierce Board of Fire Commissioners approved to place two ballot measures on the August 3, 2021 primary election.

Proposition 1 will ask voters to renew the EMS Levy at the statutory limit of 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. In the final year of a ten-year EMS Levy, the District is seeking to renew the levy for another ten years. The voters must renew this levy for the District to continue collecting this revenue, accounting for 25% of the District’s tax revenue.

The EMS Levy provides for the paramedic level or advanced life support (ALS) service, which the District provides. The EMS Levy also provides emergency transport of our citizens to local hospitals at no out-of-pocket expense. The District bills the insurance company but then writes off any co-pay that would be the patient’s responsibility. These vital services cannot be provided without the approval of the EMS Levy this fall.

Proposition 2 will ask voters to reauthorize the Regular (Fire) Levy collection to the statutory rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value, commonly referred to as a lid lift. Currently, the 2021 levy rate is $1.36 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Collection rates erode due to an automatic limit on the growth of property taxes. That standard limit is one percent (1%) per year, but Proposition 2 will 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.

The additional revenue provided by the lid lift will fund response crews to staff a new station in Tehaleh and staff the Milton fire station. Neither proposition is a new tax. Both are current taxes that have been used to fund daily operations for decades.

East Pierce Fire & Rescue remains the most cost-effective career department in Pierce County compared to other fire districts' collection rates. We continue to operate and make system improvements by just collecting the Regular and EMS levies. Most other career fire districts have additional revenues provided by benefit charges or maintenance and operations levies.

If you have any questions, or would like to schedule a presentation for your Homeowners Association or other group, please email Chief@eastpiercefire.org

 

Watch this video to learn more about the August 2021 lid lifts.


Proposition 1 - EMS Levy

Proposition 1 – Renew EMS Levy
August 3, 2021 Primary Election

  • Not a new tax.
  • Renews existing EMS tax.
  • Renew it – or lose it.
  • Provides 25% of our tax revenues.
  • Necessary to maintain Paramedic Level Service.
  • EPFR remains one of the only fire districts in the county not to have additional taxes for daily operations.

This is not a new tax but a renewal of an existing levy. We are currently in the last year of a 10-year EMS levy. If not renewed, the fire district will lose 25% of its tax revenue. For decades, the EMS levy has been used to fund emergency medical response and provide transport with no out-of-pocket expense to our citizens.

The EMS levy would be renewed for another ten years if approved by the voters.

EMS Levy collection rate history in cents per $1,000 of assessed value:

 YEAR:  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021
RATE:  $0.44  $0.50  $0.50  $0.48  $0.47  $0.45


How does the current rate compare to the 50-cent collection rate in Prop 1?

 Assessed Value of Property $450,000
(median home value Pierce County)
 $0.45 per
$1,000 of AV
 $0.50 per
$1,000 of AV
 Increase
 Annual Payment  $202.50  $225.00  $22.50 per year
 Monthly Payment  $16.88  $18.75  $1.87 per month

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

Proposition 2 - Reset Regular (Fire) Levy

Proposition 2 – Reset Regular (Fire) Levy
August 3, 2021, Primary Election

  • Not a new tax.
  • Commonly referred to as a Lid Lift.
  • Resets collection rate to previously approved $1.50 per $1,000 of the assessed value with the ability to collect over the 1% limit.
  • Necessary to maintain service and add staffing in preparation of new staffed fire stations.
  • EPFR remains one of the only fire districts in the county not to have additional taxes for daily operations.

This is not a new tax but instead asks to reset the collection rate to the previously approved $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Property tax increases are limited by state law to 1% growth from year to year. This levy asks voters to authorize the ability to take up to 6% for the three years following the first year at the limit. The statutory 1% limit does not keep up with cost increases of operational supplies, fuel, utilities, and other items and certainly does not provide for adding resources or programs. The ability to use the additional growth rate of up to 6% allows for adding more firefighters to serve the rapidly growing needs of the area.

The addition of these crews serves those areas. It reduces the number of times our other units are dispatched into those areas, leaving them available more often for incidents near their stations.

Resetting the Regular levy to the statutory limit will provide funds to add firefighters to staff stations in Tehaleh and Milton.

Regular Levy collection rate history per $1,000 of assessed value:

 YEAR  2016  2017  2018  2019  2020  2021
 Rate  $1.50  $1.39  $1.50  $1.45  $1.42  1.36

How does the current rate compare to the $1.50 collection rate in Prop 2?

 Assessed Value of Property $450,000
(median home value in Pierce County)
 $1.36 per
$1,000 of AV
 $1.50 per
$1,000 of AV
 Increase
 Annual Payment  $612.00  $675.00  $63.00 per year
 Monthly Payment  $51  $56.25  $5.25 per month


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

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