Levy Proposal Vis Lit 218 - Levy Lid Lift 1 Thurston County...

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Levy Lid Lift 1 Thurston County Fire District 6 Levy Lid-Lift Proposal Jennifer Baxter Visual Literacy 218 Patti Vreeland March 16, 2009
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Levy Lid Lift 2 East Olympia Fire District 6 serves 32 square miles in Thurston County, which lies in the southern Puget Sound region of Washington State. The District encompasses approximately 5,500 homes and 14, 000 citizens. Last year, the fire district answered 959 calls (up from 661 in 2000); 602 of which were emergency medical calls, 94 were motor vehicle collisions and 263 were fire related which included 12 structure and vehicle fires. The department was able to respond to this rising volume of calls with 5 paid Firefighters and 35 volunteer Firefighters. Because the declining levy rate is no longer adequate to support the ever-rising cost of providing these services, the District proposes to increase the levy rate in a two-phase approach to meet the current and ever increasing public safety needs. If the proposal is accepted, the department will be better able to keep pace with the increasing demands for service that comes with the rapid population growth within District boundaries. Currently, there is an Initiative in place that limits revenue increases to 1% over the previous year. With prudent management of taxpayer’s dollars, the department has managed to live within the reduced funding available for 6 years. However, while funding is restrained, operating costs continue to rise well beyond the 1% per year allowed, due to cost increases for fuel, electricity, insurance, etc. Therefore, should this levy lid-lift proposal be accepted among the community, plans are in place that will allow the department to continue supporting the very effective use of both volunteer and paid personnel. This includes hiring a limited number of additional firefighters to improve response coverage when volunteers are not available. Also, with the expanded commitment from dedicated volunteers, the department can continue staffing two, of the five, stations and prevent response delays due to the 65 trains per day that bisect the
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Levy Lid Lift 3 District. In addition, a capital fund will be built in order to purchase replacement apparatus and expand training facilities without the additional costs of “buying on credit” with bonds. If the levy passes, to minimize the financial impact on taxpayers, the new rate will be timed to be more than offset for most by expiring fire bonds and reduced insurance costs. According to LT Kyle Baxter of East Olympia Fire District 6, “ the good news is that overall taxpayers should experience a cost reduction related to the fire service of approximately $16 per year for a $300,000 home. This is because, beginning in 2010 most homeowners will experience a reduction in homeowner’s insurance brought about by a Public Protection Classification rate change in 2009 from an 8 to a 6; a change that will very likely reduce insurance costs by approximately $100 for a $300,000 home ” (personal communication, March 8, 2009). The phase one request is for a $.28/$1,000 increase in the levy for collection beginning in 2010
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