The Board of Fire Commissioners for Newman Lake Fire and Rescue, Spokane County Fire District #13, voted unanimously to place a multi-year Fire Levy lid lift on the August Primary Election ballot. If approved by voters, a "lid lift" allows the fire district to restore its regular real property tax levy rate to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation in 2022 for collection in 2023 and will establish an annual growth rate, not to exceed 6% per year for each of the following 5 years.
It is the judgment of the Board of Commissioners of the District that it is essential and necessary for the protection of the health and life of the residents of the District that the fire and emergency medical services be provided by the District. The Board of Commissioners has determined that the accelerated demands for, and increasing costs of, providing services will necessitate the expenditure of revenues for maintaining and/or improving fire protection operations, replacing apparatus and equipment, firefighter recruitment and training, and maintaining emergency medical service levels in excess of those which can be provided by the District's regular tax revenue. This funding will be used to improve emergency service levels by hiring two Firefighter EMTs and a full-time Fire Chief. It will allow the district to implement a program to improve our current Washington State Rating Bureau (WSRB) Insurance Rating, which affects the premiums paid by homeowners.
RCW 84.55 limits the District to a 1% revenue increase per year. Due to the 1% limit, the amount collected by the District is not keeping up with the cost of inflation.
If approved by voters, the lid lift would restore the Fire Levy to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The proposal would be on the August 2nd Primary Election ballot and cost approximately $0.48 cents per $1,000 (or approximately $24 per month for the owner of a $600,000 home).
The levy rate has fallen from the $1.50/$1,000 seen in 2015 to the current $1.02/$1,000 in 2022. Each year, Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is limited to roughly the same amount of revenue due to the limitations of RCW 84.55.
Newman Lake Fire and Rescue is trying to build a sustainable service delivery model that will improve firefighter availability to improve emergency response times to our citizens.