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Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority

Proposition No. 1
Continuation of Benefit Charge

Shall the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority be authorized to continue voter-authorized benefit charges on a permanent basis, not to exceed an amount equal to sixty percent of its operating budget, and be prohibited from imposing an additional property tax under RCW 52.26.140(1)(c)?



The Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority “Puget Sound Fire” is responsible for providing fire protection and emergency medical services in your community. For the last twelve years, the Puget Sound Fire has funded these services primarily through a combination of property taxes and voter approved benefit charges.


Under state law, voters must renew the use of Puget Sound Fire’s current benefit charge in 2021. A benefit charge is not a property tax. The benefit charge is a user fee designed to allocate the cost of the services provided by Puget Sound Fire in reasonable proportion to the measurable benefit a property receives. The benefit charge is based on an industry accepted formula that takes into consideration fire flows, the square footage of structures, the type of structures and various risk factors.

The Puget Sound Fire Governance Board has determined that permanently establishing the benefit charge will provides a long-term, stable, reliable and cost effective method for financing the operations of Puget Sound Fire and for maintaining satisfactory levels of service.

Under state law, regional fire authorities which collect benefit charges have reduced taxing authority. Benefit charges can constitute no more than 60 percent of a fire authority’s annual operating budget and the fire authority’s maximum property tax rate is reduced from $1.50 to $1.00 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.


If approved, Proposition 1 would permanently continue the current funding methods utilized by the Puget Sound Fire to provide emergency medical and fire protection services.

Saving lives, homes and businesses is not something to take for granted. We trust that our fire department will be there when seconds count. Now, it is our time to be there for them. 


Voting Yes on Proposition #1 ensures continued, sustainable funding for the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority. Proposition #1 simply reauthorizes the use of a Fire Benefit Charge in a two-part funding system in perpetuity.  It is not a new tax.  Every six years the department spends over $200,000 to put this issue on the ballot. By making the Fire Benefit Charge authorization permanent we are saving taxpayer dollars for an unnecessary election every six years and that is proven by the fact that this very same issue has been authorized by overwhelming majorities in 2010 and 2016 by all of us. This is a commonsense issue and speaks to the transparency and fiscal responsibility that we should demand of our department.  State law already limits the use of the Fire Benefit Charge to be no more than 60% of the operating budget.


Please vote Yes for continued practical funding and support of the very service that might save Your life or home one day.


Jennifer Harjehausen, Chris McCartin, Michael Somerville,

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 52.26.220)

For questions about this measure, contact: Greg Markley, Division Chief, 253-740-5100,

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