King County logo
City of Bellevue

Proposition No. 1
Levy for Fire Facilities

The Bellevue City Council adopted Ordinance No. 6303 concerning a proposition to fund improvements to fire facilities. To seismically retrofit fire stations, build a new Downtown fire station, realign and upgrade existing fire facilities to better serve the community, and obtain logistics center warehouse space, this proposition would increase the City’s regular property tax levy by $0.125 to a total authorized rate of $1.255 (if only this proposition passes) per $1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2017 and for 19 years thereafter as allowed by chapter 84.55 RCW. Should this proposition be:



State law generally limits annual property tax increases to 1% over the highest amount that a city could have received in one of the three most recent years. A majority of voters can approve an increase or “lift” above this limit. Proposition 1 authorizes Bellevue to lift this limit by increasing its regular property tax levy by up to 12.5 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This lift would continue for 20 years.

Proposition 1 provides funding to be spent on four categories of fire facilities: (1) Retrofitting fire stations with seismic upgrades to withstand a major earthquake; (2) Building a new downtown fire station to serve Bellevue’s fastest growing residential neighborhood; (3) Upgrading existing fire stations, by remodeling, expanding, or replacing fire stations and aligning facilities to better serve Bellevue communities; and (4) Obtaining warehouse space for a Logistics Center. The Bellevue City Council will allocate funding among these categories and may revise these categories. These categories and other details about the levy are described in Ordinance 6303, available online. 

Bellevue is also asking voters to consider a 15 cent property tax increase for transportation neighborhood safety, connectivity and congestion improvements. If only Proposition 1 is approved, Bellevue’s total levy rate would not exceed $1.255 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2017 ($1.405 if both propositions are approved). Bellevue could continue to bank the difference between the maximum rate and the amount actually levied.

For questions about this measure, contact: Kyle Stannert, Assistant City Manager, 425-452-6021,

The Bellevue Fire Department provides fire suppression, rescue and emergency medical service to City residents and surrounding communities. Bellevue’s rapid growth is straining our facilities and first-rate response times. The lives and property saved and protected are inestimable relative to the value to those citizens served.

Without the essential upgrades to the Fire Facilities Master Plan, as outlined in the Proposition, fire facilities will continue to deteriorate or fail to meet the needs of our fast-growth community. A new Downtown station is critical to effectively serve the growing population, density and commercial properties while ensuring resources to other neighborhoods are not negatively impacted.

The benefits to be derived far exceed the property tax investment proposed, with all citizens reaping the advantage of improved facilities, response times and rescue. Costs of these improvements will not decrease in the future, only escalate. To save one life, one home, one business is an immeasurable impact on the entire community.

It is critical to ensure the Bellevue Fire Department has safe, survivable and appropriate facilities to enable continued excellence in fire and emergency medical response, supporting the citizens of Bellevue and its neighboring communities. Vote Yes to protect us all!

This levy is not vote on fire facility improvements — we need these upgrades and Bellevue can pay for them. It is a vote on how to finance them. Is property tax the right funding source? Why are lower priorities funded first? Why can Bellevue fund land and operations for a downtown fire station but not the building? We should reject this levy and do the work to fix the budget — fund critical services first, make effective decisions on discretionary items, enable flexibility in sources.

Levy funds are inflexible. Funds and results trickle in over twenty years. Funds can only be used for items in the Levy. Bellevue needs to be nimble to adapt to growth and technology.

Set by city codes, Bellevue’s growth pattern can change over the next twenty years. Like gardens, cities are never finished. The fund distribution may change with growth, transit-oriented development, the Innovation Triangle, and mixed-use communities. New development requires new infrastructure.

Bellevue can raise property taxes for critical needs without this levy — 3% last year. Given a budget shortfall, voters want choices on funding secondary items falling off the list.

We should not wait twenty years. Bellevue must effectively handle competing, critical priorities.

This levy is specifically for building the new fire station and required improvement to fire facilities. Property tax increases only grow, are not reduced over time and are not use specific. Conversely, this taxpayer-approved levy has a specific timetable of 20 years. In 20 years, the required improvements will have been made, a Downtown fire station built all allowing responder services to remain ‘first rate’. The levy then discontinues with the goals met.

Submitted by: Michael Eisner, Jeanne Elliott, Michelle Hilhorst,

A levy is simply the wrong way to finance fire facilities. Bellevue’s budget must fund essential services first. 

This levy will take twenty years. Meanwhile, costs rise. Bellevue’s rapid growth requires infrastructure. A downtown station, earthquake-ready stations, and continued first-rate responses need funding now. 

Levy funds must be used as written. This levy lacks flexibly, such as funding technological equipment advances over warehouse space. 

Reject Proposition 1. Protect us now. Fund fire first. 

Submitted by: Pamela Johnston,

Simple majority (RCW 84.55.050) 



For questions about this measure, contact: Kyle Stannert, Assistant City Manager, 425-452-6021,


5 en-US Production

TTY: Relay 711

Sign up for email or text notifications