Fire district's levy request is for same amount in 2013 | Update

Editor's note: This story has been revised to correct some inaccurate information in the story published in Friday's paper.


They’re not asking for more, and hoping they won’t have to budget for less.

South Kitsap Fire & Rescue officials have decided to seek renewal of a lid lift for the district’s emergency services levy on the April 17 special election ballot.

This is a temporary lid lift approved by voters in 2006 that will expire at the end of 2012, and it represents about $1.7 million of the $12 million in total tax revenue that funds the district for this year. SKFR Chief Wayne Senter said the district is asking for the same total amount for 2013.

“If the assessed value remains the same in 2013 as 2012, the total levy will remain the same,” he said.

The message he wants to emphasize is that SKFR isn’t asking for any tax increase from voters, just to maintain the same funding level the district has.

Even if Kitsap County sees another decline in total assessed value for all taxable property, as happened with a 5 percent decrease in 2012, the levy rate will adjust slightly and the total tax revenue going to SKFR would still be $12 million.

There are two separate levies that fund the district. The Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy was renewed for six years in 2009 and is capped at 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

The operations levy — the one for which voters approved a lid lift in 2006 — is $1.38 for this year. (See Bob Meadows’ column on Page 6A of Friday's paper.)

Another 5 percent decline in the county’s total property value in 2013 would bump it up to $1.48, close to the maximum $1.50 allowed. But if the rate goes up slightly, it will be applied to the lower property values so taxpayers would still pay the same amount on average next year.

The extra revenue that has come in since 2006 from the lid lift for the operations levy and the EMS levy has funded full-time staffing for fire stations on Bethel Road and in Manchester.

“Those two stations have made a big difference” in response times on calls, Senter said.

He said the SKFR citizens advisory board wanted to put the levy renewal request on the April ballot, even though the election cost to the district will be higher, so that if the measure is not approved, the district could try again in August.

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