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South King Fire & Rescue

Proposition No. 1
Fire and Emergency Medical Services Excess Levy

The Board of Commissioners of South King Fire & Rescue adopted Resolution No. 481 concerning an excess levy for maintenance and operations.  This proposition would authorize the District to levy an excess property tax on all taxable property within the District beginning with collection in 2013 and continuing for three years thereafter to be used for maintenance and operations and to maintain the current level of fire and emergency medical services.  The levy amount for each of the four years would be $3,500,000 with an approximate rate in the first year of $0.29 per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation.  Should this proposition be approved?



South King Fire and Rescue, serving the citizens of Greater Federal Way and Des Moines, is placing an excess levy proposition on the April 17th, 2012 ballot. This proposition will authorize the fire district to collect $3.5 million annually, at an approximate rate of $0.29 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, for a four year period covering 2013 through 2016. The proposition is presented to allow voters the opportunity to maintain current fire department services and personnel. In addition, it will allow the district to re-staff an aid car for emergency responses, which has been closed due to decreased revenues the past few years.


The fire district has lost over 22% of its annual revenue since 2009 due to the nationwide recession and loss of property values, necessitating cutbacks in service levels and personnel, including elimination of public education programs, closure of one aid car and reducing another to part-time status, the layoff of four employees, and a total of 23 departmental vacancies including thirteen firefighters whose positions have been eliminated through attrition.


Approval of this proposition would allow the department to maintain the current level of services. Rejection of this proposition would lead to additional reductions in service levels, the layoff of additional fire department personnel including the possible layoff of firefighters, potential elimination of special services such as rescue teams, and similar cutbacks.

For additional questions regarding this measure contact: Allen D. Church - Fire Chief/Administrator 253-946-7258 •

SKF&R has consistently offered higher quality fire and emergency services at a lower cost to taxpayers than most surrounding communities.  However, those services are being threatened. In order to maintain our service, please VOTE YES for SKF&R’s maintenance and operations levy. 


The fire district has lost over 22% of its annual revenue since 2009 as property values have declined. This reduction has necessitated major cutbacks in service levels and personnel, longer emergency response times, and 23 departmental vacancies including front line firefighters. Those who remain have taken voluntary cuts in pay and benefits in order to maintain services. This levy will maintain current fire department services and personnel, and will restore an emergency aid unit in order to improve response times.  


Our department understands the need to run a lean operation without sacrificing public safety. With the passing of this levy, our department’s tax rate will remain lower than most neighboring jurisdictions, while retaining the distinction of being the only fire district in the history of the State to have been awarded a Class 2 insurance rating. We couldn’t have done this without YOU.


Thanks for voting YES in continued SUPPORT of our community’s safety!

Does the district need additional funding from this Excess Levy? Yes.


However, $3.5 million only covers the bare minimum, keeping firefighter numbers at skeleton-bare crews and administrative staffing at barebones capacity while training and buildings suffer.


Desperate stopgap actions are not the answer for unaddressed existing and forecast expenses. Elections costing an estimated $170,000, this administration is not showing leadership and financial responsibility when the district likely will be back again in each of the next three years asking for more money.


New elections are needed for the $4.7 million training center property now costing $230,000 per year in interest only payments with not one dime paying the principal and another costly election is required to fund construction of the training center.


Delayed again, the responsible decision of a Service Benefit Charge (SBC) will require a third election.


The six year term of the SBC, fixed at 2010 revenues limits, allows for a reliable, flexible funding mechanism, much better serving this community and the district.


Vote for greater efficiency; Vote for improved operations; Vote for a 21st century emergency response unit; Demand a fixed cap Service Benefit Charge.


Vote No for this temporary patch. VOTE NO on the Excess Levy.

SKF&R runs a lean operation without sacrificing public safety. This maintenance and operations levy balances the need to maintain services without sacrificing safety, while recognizing that many of our citizens are hurting financially.


While the opposition to this levy cites the need for more money to come into our department, it doesn’t take into consideration current economic realities. We have clearly articulated a more measured and manageable approach. It’s simply a matter of balance.


Statement submitted by: Wayne Corey, Amye Bronson-Doherty and Jon McIntosh •


Restoring one emergency aid unit will add only 9 employees to the payroll yet cost $2 million.  Why?


Commissioner Bonds quietly bought training center property. But you’ll never see results without public vote. Essentially, over $4.7million wasted.


Demand accountable, responsible leadership; not several expensive elections for temporary fixes.


Demand your elected governance and administrators Walk-the-Talk of restraint and present effective funding provided by a fixed cap Service Benefit Charge.


Vote NO Excess Levy


Statement submitted by: Jerry Galland •


60% yes vote and a minimum turnout of 13,073 (Washington Constitution, article VII, section 2(b))

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