WHATCOM COUNTY FIRE DISTRICT #4
RESTORING REGULAR PROPERTY TAX LEVY
Whatcom County Fire District #4 has a levy lid lift proposition on the upcoming August 3 primary election ballot asking residents for the funds to maintain and improve fire protection and emergency medical services in its coverage area.
The Board of Fire Commissioners of Whatcom County Fire District #4, Whatcom County, Washington, adopted Resolution No. 2021-02 concerning a proposition to restore the Authority’s regular property tax levy. This measure would restore the Authority’s regular property tax levy to $1.45 per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation in 2021 (for collection in 2022).
Levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire authority to the same amount of revenue per year plus 1% increase allowed by law. In 2020, the property levy rate for WCFD #4 was $0.87 per 1,000 AV. Due to area inflation and the 1% tax limitations, the current WCFD #4 levy has fallen to a rate of $0.82 per $1,000 AV. Without a lid lift, this rate is expected to decline further in 2022.
In 2022, the levy rate would increase from $0.82 cents to $1.45, a total of $.63 per $1,000 AV. This increase would cost the homeowner of a $400,000 assessed value home an additional $21.00 per month.
Senior citizen may still qualify for property tax reduction under the property tax exemption for senior citizen and disabled persons.
In 2020 WCFD #4 retired the general obligation bond used to purchase and build the station 12 campus. This reduced the property tax payment by $0.10 per 1,000 assessed value of a home.
In addition, if the lid lift, as proposed by the district, is approved by the voters and established for collection in 2022 the district shall not impose an EMS levy in 2022.
WCFD #4 has not asked the voters to adjust their fire levy rate to fund operations since November 1994.
If approved, the lid lift would fund personnel to respond to higher call volumes for fire and emergency medical service, improve firefighter training, replace the aging apparatus, and make capital improvements/repairs to their 20-year-old fire station and training campus and station 13. Revenue could also backfill the equipment, facility, and emergency reserves.
WCFD #4’s regular property tax levy provides most of the funding for daily operations of fire protection and EMS services as well as most of its capital needs such as facility repairs and upgrades, and firefighting personal protective equipment and tools.
WCFD #4 is not much different than some neighboring districts right now. To maintain a quality level of service, we need funding. It is important to us to keep response times down. The faster we can respond to a call, the safer it is for everyone involved, the people we are helping and the staff.
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