Fire District 41, which serves the large unincorporated area north of Kirkland, is asking voters to approve a 26-cent property-tax rate...
Fire District 41, which serves the large unincorporated area north of Kirkland, is asking voters to approve a 26-cent property-tax rate increase in a special election next Tuesday.
District officials say they need more money to pay for busier fire stations and more expensive gas and health insurance.
The district has already been forced to spend half of its $700,000 reserve fund, and it doesn’t want to use up the rest, said Ken Davidson, district secretary.
Even with rising costs, the district is limited by Initiative 747 to increasing its tax rate by just 1 percent a year — unless voters approve a larger increase.
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“It’s either a matter of going to voters … or looking at cuts in levels of service,” Davidson said.
If the levy is approved, the tax rate would increase from 94 cents to $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Voting for next Tuesday’s special election will take place from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Registered voters who live in Fire District 41 are eligible. For questions about your polling place, call 206-296-8683 or check the King County Elections Web site (www.metrokc.gov/elections).
Homeowners would pay an extra $26 a year for every $100,000 of assessed property value.
The owner of a $300,000 home, for example, would pay $78 more, for a total of $360 a year.
The district has never asked voters for a tax increase and currently offers one of the lowest fire-district tax rates in the area, Davidson said.
The district pays the Kirkland fire department to serve the district’s 35,000 residents. The area includes Finn Hill, Kingsgate and the north Juanita neighborhoods and stretches from Lake Washington to 132nd Avenue Northeast and to the southern edge of Kenmore, Bothell and Woodinville.
The city fire department wants to add firefighters and improve service, and the district also needs more money to help pay for those improvements, district officials said.
The district owns three fire stations that sit within its borders. At least eight Kirkland firefighters are on duty at the stations at all times, Davidson said.
Ashley Bach: 206-464-2567 or email@example.com