VRFA Proposition 1 leading by a wide margin | UPDATE

  • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 4:23pm
  • News

The Valley Regional Fire Authority Proposition No. 1 measure is winning handily based on the updated numbers from Tuesday’s special election.

The measure calls for a modest increase in the regular property tax levy, which is one of two local funding sources for VRFA operations. It will also result in the reduction of the other local funding source, the Fire Benefit Charge (FBC), in 2021.

According to the latest returns released Wednesday afternoon, Prop 1 was well out in front, with 917 approval votes (72.66 percent) to 345 rejection votes (27.34 percent).

“Passage of Proposition No. 1 is critical for our ability to continue meeting the needs and expectations of the citizens we serve,” said Fire Chief and VRFA Administrator Brent Swearingen.

If passed, the proposed property tax levy increase will have a modest financial impact on local citizens, with owners of a 2,000-square-foot, $350,000 home seeing their total cost of VRFA services increase less than $1 per month.

When the VRFA was created, the agency was funded by a balanced combination of property taxes and the FBC. With the property tax limited to 1 percent annual increases, the FBC has grown as a percentage of total VRFA funding. Because state law limits how high the percentage of funding from the FBC can become, continuing the current trend will lead to funding and service constraints.

“We need to be forward-looking,” said VRFA Governing Board chair Leanne Guier, Pacific mayor. “This is a proactive step to ensure that VRFA will be able to continue to meet the needs of our communities.”

Since the VRFA’s creation in 2007, its service area has changed significantly, with the number of customers up 30 percent, and call volumes up 40 percent.

Swearingen said that this growth has been accommodated without significant increases in facilities or operational staffing, but the VRFA is reaching the practical limit of its ability to continue doing that.

“Proposition No. 1 is critical for the future of our services,” he added. “Anticipating and addressing challenges before they become major problems is a big part of being a good steward of public resources.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@auburn-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.auburn-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Courtesy of governor.wa.gov
Inslee extends pause on counties advancing phases to July 28

A spike in cases could cause hospitalizations and deaths to rise soon.

Elected or appointed? King County weighs sheriff options

Voters could be asked to decide in November.

The Red Lion Inn at 1 South Grady Way in Renton is being used as temporary site to relocate individuals experiencing homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo.
Renton battles King County over temporary shelter at Red Lion Hotel

County officials believe emergency health order will supersede city’s move.

Owner of proposed Enumclaw Recycling Center ordered to close Auburn location

King County has been trying to shutter the Buckley Recycle Center for nearly 15 years, and claims the lack of progress at the Enumclaw site shows the owner has little interest in complying with county regulations.

A train route that would shuttle people between Eastern and Western Washington could tie in with the proposed ultra-high-speed rail between B.C. and Portland. Photo courtesy RobertStafford/Pixabay.com
State receives King County to Spokane rail study

It would take about eight and a half hours to reach the Inland Empire from Puget Sound.

Courtesy of Mountain View Fire and Rescue
Mountain View Fire and Rescue seeks levy on Aug. 4 primary ballot

Service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.

Firefighters treat 3 in head-on collision | Fire blotter

Reporter staff Between June 29 and July 5, the Valley Regional Fire… Continue reading

Bret Chiafalo. File photo
Supreme Court says state can punish WA faithless electors

Justices: Presidential electors, including Everett man, must keep pledge to back popular vote winner

Courtesy of the Auburn School District
There will be school this fall in Auburn

The district is working on answering the question: What will it look like?

Most Read