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King County Fire Protection District No. 43

Proposition No. 1

Shall Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety (King County Fire Protection District No. 43) be authorized to impose benefit charges each year for six 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?



Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety is placing a “benefit charge” proposition on the August 2, 2016 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, but on the relative cost of providing service. If approved, the benefit charge, in effect for six years commencing in 2017, will be based on total square footage and projected fire flows required for all types of property, utilizing a consistent and industry-accepted formula.

The District now uses a combination of the regular property tax levy and an excess levy to provide sufficient revenue to maintain services. During 2016, the tax rates were $1.33 per thousand of assessed value for the regular property tax, but a $.27 per thousand excess levy was added, to total $1.60 per thousand. With benefit charges, the regular property tax will be limited by law to $1.00 per thousand; the excess levy will be eliminated. The benefit charge will provide the remaining revenue, but on a more logical and fair basis, with charges matching costs more accurately. Benefit charges cannot exceed 60% of the operating budget.

Approval of this proposition would allow the District to maintain the current level of services, while making the assessment of charges to citizens more fair. The need for fire protection services is not based on the value of property but on many other factors.

For questions about this measure, contact: Brad Doerflinger, Fire Chief, 425-432-0200, ext. 2102,

Maple Valley Fire & Life Safety has proposed a long-term solution to funding emergency services based on a recommendation from the Citizens Steering Committee and supported by the Board of Fire Commissioners.

With a Fire Benefit Charge (FBC), the property tax levy is reduced from $1.50 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed value. The FBC replaces the $0.50 of the property tax with a fee based on the fire risk.  This is a more equitable manner than a system purely based on property value. The FBC is only billed to those properties having improvements or structures over 400 square feet. The charge is based on fire risk. Undeveloped land that does not have any structures would realize a reduction in property tax from $1.50 to $1.00 and not pay any FBC.

The FBC is based on square footage of a building as opposed to a property’s value. Smaller structures like your home, are charged less than commercial developments because it costs less to defend them in a fire. Structures that utilize fire sprinklers and detection systems, will receive a 10% discount on the FBC. Senior citizens, disabled persons and low income households will maintain any exemptions currently provided.

Submitted by: John Herbert, Jim Flynn, Sean P. Kelly,

No statement submitted.

Statements in favor of and in opposition to a ballot measure are submitted by committees appointed by the jurisdiction. No persons came forward to serve on the committee and to write a statement in opposition. If you would like to be involved with a committee in the future please contact the jurisdiction.

60% approval (RCW 52.18.050)

For questions about this measure, contact: Brad Doerflinger, Fire Chief, 425-432-0200, ext. 2102,

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