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City of Mercer Island
Proposition No. 1
Nine Year Levy Lid Lift for City Fire Station and Fire Apparatus

The City Council of the City of Mercer Island adopted Ordinance No. 12-04 concerning property taxes for a fire station and fire apparatus. This proposition increases the City’s regular property tax levy by up to $.086/$1,000 (averaging approximately $662,000/year) to a total maximum rate of $1.517/$1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2013, and increases the levy as permitted in RCW 84.55 for eight years thereafter, to pay, or pay debt service on approximately $5.2 million of bonds and obligations issued to finance, costs of constructing, equipping, and acquiring a fire station and fire apparatus.


Should this proposition be:



This proposition would provide funding for a new South end fire station and a new fire rescue truck.


Each year, the City of Mercer Island can increase the amount of regular property taxes it collects by only 1% (approximately) without voter approval. This limit is called the "levy lid." Under this limit, in 2012, Mercer Island can collect regular property taxes at a rate of approximately $1.33 per $1,000 of assessed valuation without voter approval.


With voter approval, this proposition would authorize the City of Mercer Island to collect approximately $662,000 over the levy lid for each of nine years (2013- 2021). This additional revenue would provide funds to pay debt service on bonds issued to finance the costs of constructing and equipping the South end fire station, and to pay costs to replace a fire rescue truck.  


If this proposition passes, the City of Mercer Island will be allowed to increase the regular property tax rate in 2013 by approximately $0.086 per $1,000 of assessed valuation (to a total rate not to exceed $1.517 per $1,000 of assessed valuation).  For example, this proposition would increase the regular property tax bill on a $700,000 home (median assessed value in 2012) by approximately $60 in 2013.


For regular property taxes collected after 2021, the maximum tax levy would be determined as if this proposition had not been approved.

Our Mercer Island firefighters keep us safe, and we have a responsibility to provide the resources they need to ensure our safety and theirs. The current south-end Fire Station #92, built in 1962, was never designed to meet the current and future needs of our community nor compliment the Island’s integrated emergency response system.  Limited vehicle garage space, an inadequate patient receiving area, improperly installed support beams and masonry that will not withstand the next major earthquake are just a few of the reasons why this station must be torn down to provide up-to-date services to the entire Island.  You are being asked to support a 9 year capital levy of $5,218,000 to rebuild station #92 as well as fund the replacement of an aging rescue truck (non-water pumping vehicle). The annual cost for a median Island home of $700,000 would be $60. We hope you are fortunate enough to ever find need to use our emergency response services; however, if the need should arise, we want to ensure that you and your family get the most rapid and professional response to your emergency. As stewards of our community, please vote with us on this important issue.

The southend fire station serves this community well.  We’re told it was built in ancient times (1962), so, like our ancient schools, should be demolished, but instead, it should be updated and remodeled.    Surrounding houses are of comparable age, but neighbors can’t afford to demolish their homes.  The City, like its citizens, has other critical needs.


This $5,200,000 levy nearly doubles the current station’s size for an already built-out southend, including features that don’t help emergency services, like an added lobby, conference room, and fourth sleeping room for only three firemen.  The Council piled on a rescue truck freeing up funds for projects like the “road diet” narrowing Island Crest from four lanes to two, DEGRADING emergency response.


Islanders rejected a wasteful demolition of schools, but the City wasn’t listening.  The same councilmembers who supported demolishing the schools have, without a public hearing, proposed demolishing the station.  The City is also working in the background to demolish City Hall and rebuild in the Town Center.


Vote NO!  Defeat this levy.  The City’s own recent survey shows Islanders losing confidence in the City’s fiscal decisions.  Demand the Council present a more fiscally sound remodel consistent with real emergency requirements. 

The #1 priority in our community is public safety.  Emergency Response experts have identified a significant deficiency in our emergency response system:  The Southend Fire Station.  The proposed new station has been vetted by our Emergency Response professionals as well as by regional experts.  In their collective opinion, the size and capacities of the proposed station match the Island’s unique needs.  This capital levy is a serious request that will address a real community need.


Statement submitted by: Jim Pearman, El Jahncke and Patti Darling

The southend fire station, expanded in 1984, weathered two major earthquakes without damage, and should be remodeled with seismic and other code updates. Council won’t consider remodeling, insisting on demolishing public buildings, amassing wasteful debt. The City presents no fire-call volume statistics that justify building a station twice its current size. The truck should be purchased with funds already available. Send a message to the Council – we cannot afford to waste public funds. Vote NO.


Statement submitted by: Ira Appelman, Tom Imrich and Jean Majury

Simple Majority (RCW 84.55.050)
1253 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

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