South King Fire & Rescue Fire Board Opts to Re-run Excess Levy

South King Fire & Rescue announced Tuesday (May 8) that they have decided to re-run an excess levy on the August primary election that would fund re-staffing a previously closed aid car and fill a $2 million funding gap for operations.

Despite receiving a yes vote of 59.32% and only a 40.68% no vote, the measure failed because of the 60% yes vote requirement for Fire District Excess Levies.

“We had so many people come up and congratulate us for an overwhelming victory only for them to learn that we must have a 60% yes vote to pass” expounded both Fire Chief Al Church and Fire Board Chairman Bill Gates.

A discussion of options following the very-near passage of the ballot measure started at a special meeting May 3 where the five-member board voted unanimously to place the measure back to the voters as soon as possible. The discussion also covered whether to change the amount or change the use of the funds to be collected, specifically whether there would still be enough to re-staff a previously closed aid car following a recent update from the King County Assessor’s office that property tax revenues were expected to fall another 4%-6%. This would increase the department’s funding gap in 2013 to $2.5 million despite extensive cost cutting and the loss of 23 department wide positions.

Community leaders and community groups had largely supported the measure after the fire department had made massive program and personnel cuts and spent cash reserves previously earmarked for capital needs in an effort to prioritize emergency operations response.

The levy’s proposed collection rate would be an additional 29 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value or about $58 per year for the average homeowner (less than $5 per month). The levy would run unchanged for 4 years collecting $3.5 million annually. “We are confident that if we explain our needs in further detail and do a better job of asking for help from our citizens that they will support this level of service. They haven’t told us they want less service” said Assistant Chief Gordie Olson.

To learn more about the fire department, visit them at or on the district’s Facebook Page.


2 Responses to “South King Fire & Rescue Fire Board Opts to Re-run Excess Levy”
  1. Cindy says:

    There needs to be the assurancethat ALL funds raised goes towards the fire department and that other funds will not then be cut due to ‘new’ funding.

    • Don Wasson says:

      Cindy is so right about being concerned about other funds being cut because of new funding. Some of us,including Cindy are quicker learners than others! Didn’t we recently learn how the City of Des Moines pulled that trick when we voted for a levy lid lift vote for the police department. Those penny ante polititions cut the other fund for police after they had promised they would not if we voted yes.blaming it on budget cuts. I bet there are a few people who would love to try that on their mortgage company. But you can’t get away with that kind of crime in the real world, only in politics.
      Don Wasson

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