The Board of Fire Commissioners of Mountain View Fire and Rescue will hold two meetings to consider a resolution to place a maintenance and operations (M&O) levy on the Aug. 4 primary election ballot.
Mountain View Fire and Rescue (formerly known as King County Fire District 44) provides wildland firefighting, fire suppression, life safety and basic life support to approximately 20,000 people over 77 square miles. Its service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.
Daily operations at Mountain View Fire and Rescue are funded through a regular fire levy paid through property taxes. From time to time, the fire district asks voters for temporary funding through an M&O levy. In 2013, voters approved an M&O levy of $0.30 per $1000 of assessed property value to replace revenue lost during the last recession. That M&O levy expired in 2017.
Call volumes increased almost six percent last year for the fire district, which responds to approximately 2,200 emergencies a year. The fire district is limited to a 1 percent annual revenue increase in its fire levy by state law, which is not keeping up with the demand for service.
The fire district is considering asking voters to approve a temporary M&O levy of $0.30 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Funding would be used to purchase protective gear for firefighters, replace a fire engine and water tender, and make major repairs to fire stations to extend their usable lives. These one-time capital items are too expensive to fund through the daily operating levy without cutting emergency service levels.
The M&O levy would enable the fire district to pay cash for these purchases instead of financing them through a bond, which lasts longer and costs taxpayers more due to interest payments. The cost would be $9.60 a month for the owner of a $384,000 home (an average for the area). The M&O levy would expire in four years, but these capital items will last for 15-30 years.
More information can be found at mvfire.org. Community members with questions who are unable to attend the meetings are encouraged to contact Chief Greg Smith at 253-735-0284 or firstname.lastname@example.org. All communication is welcome and becomes part of the public record.