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South King Fire & Rescue

Proposition No. 1

Shall South King Fire & Rescue be authorized to impose benefit charges, each year for six consecutive years, not to exceed an amount equal to sixty percent of its operating budget, and be prohibited from imposing an additional property tax under RCW 52.16.160?



South King Fire and Rescue, serving the citizens of Greater Federal Way and Des Moines, is placing a “benefit charge” proposition on the August 17th, 2010 primary ballot. This proposition meets the requirements of RCW 52.18, which allows the use of benefit charges to maintain fire district operations. A benefit charge is not a property tax. It is not based on assessed value of property. Instead, the benefit charge is based on the relative cost of service delivery. If approved, the benefit charge, in effect for six years commencing in 2011, will be based on the total square footage and projected fire flows required for residential, commercial, multi-family and mobile home properties utilizing a consistent and industry-accepted formula.

Approval of this proposition would allow the district to maintain the current level of services. Rejection of this proposition would lead to the continued loss of up to $3.6 million annually, which may necessitate cutbacks in services, possible layoff of personnel, potential elimination of special services such as rescue teams, and similar cutbacks.

This proposition will lower the property tax levy rate to a maximum of $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. Benefit charges cannot exceed 60% of the operating budget.

As citizens of Federal Way and Des Moines, we have sincerely appreciated your support in helping to maintain the HIGH QUALITY Fire and Emergency Medical Services you so justly deserve. Over the years through your support, we NOW have exceptional services in South King Fire & Rescue. With your continued commitment and support we will keep it that way.

The downturn in the economy has impacted the fire district directly with a loss of $3.7 million in 2010 alone. This is coupled with the potential loss of additional funds through a process known as pro-rationing, which can force further reductions in the amount of revenue our fire district can collect. The reduction in 2010 revenues forced our fire district to reduce firefighters, cut back budgets, and use cash reserves to make ends meet. This cannot continue for 2011 and beyond without negatively impacting our emergency services and response times.

Your YES vote on “Proposition One” on August 17th will ensure that our fire department will remain at full readiness twenty-four hours a day, which will guarantee that South King Fire remains the highest rated Fire District in the State. Thank you! Please VOTE YES Prop 1!!

66% tax increase!! In a Bad economy?

You thought it would go down but the law says 60% of the supplemental tax can come from the new Service Benefit Charge. So they get $1.00 from the Assessed Value PLUS an additional $1.50 from the SBC for a total of $2.50.

An effective way for the Fire District quickly RAISE your taxes, each of the next six years, without another vote!

Proposition 1 appears to lower taxes from $1.50 per thousand of Assessed Value to $1.00. But a complicated formula, which changes every year and must include every structure on your property, quickly replaces, and outpaces, the supposed savings, allowing up to $2.50 in taxes.

Imagine, your house, garage, shed, carport, chicken and rabbit hutch, (even the children’s playhouse?) must be included in the new tax.

And, once instituted, every year, the fire commissioners will change the numbers, raising taxes higher, unchecked, without your vote.

As an outcome based expense, the fire district determines how much they want to spend next year, and then figures out how to get it from you.

Taxes based on Assessed Value control spending, the Benefit Charge encourages spending.

Vote NO


The fear tactics about raising new taxes are ridiculous and extremely misleading.

Your fire district will maintain, not expand, its emergency services. Proposition One sustains emergency response times and firefighter’s readiness 24/7. Would you want it any other way? We do not.

The Commissioners listen to citizen’s input during the annual budget process; they have been responsible for, and have responded to the needs of the community for over 60 years.


Statement submitted by: Robert McKenzie, David Myers, and James Polhamus

The ‘Pro’ statement is misleading. NO FIREFIGHTER has been laid off due to reduced budget!

The Assistant Fire Chief states that Emergency Response WILL NOT BE REDUCED!! The budget will be met with no loss of safety services.

“Service Benefit Charge” does not have 1% cap.

Now, the fee is capped at $1.50 per $1000 Assessed Value. Next year, it can be $2.50 per $1000, a 66% tax increase!

Vote Accountability. Vote NO !

Statement submitted by: Gerald Galland, Chuck Brezina and Hubert Wilson

60% approval of the voters of the district (RCW 52.18.050)

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