When it comes to information on this levy lid lift, it seems that there has been a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding on how we are funded and what it means when property values increase.
The fire district is funded by property taxes.
The 2023 Regular Fire Levy is $540,438 as verified by the Spokane County Assessor’s Office. A limit of 1% increase would only generate $545,842 from the Regular Fire Levy in 2024. Total tax revenues in 2024, without a Levy Lid Lift, will be approximately $772,000. Our projected expenses for 2024 are $885,000.
When your property value goes up, the rate we receive goes down. Currently, we are at $0.79 Cents per $1000. There is a common misconception that if your property values go up, for example by 40%, we also get an additional 40%. THIS IS NOT THE CASE. Washington state laws are in place that hold the taxation to a 1% increase from the previous year unless a levy lid lift is in place. This means that if over a 5-year period, your property valuation increases 10% a year, the fire district still only receives 5%; we do not receive 50%.
This is why the Levy Lid Lift is SO important to the preservation of our fire district and being able to provide the level of service that you expect and deserve. If we are not successful, we will have to consider making very drastic changes in the next couple of years to be able to maintain a balanced budget.
These cuts would include a major reduction in staffing, which would mean that we would be delayed in responding to your emergency needs.
See the information below that explains the Levy Lid Lift and what it really means:
Initiative 747, established in 2001, sets the levy limit is as follows:
Taxing districts under 10,000 population may not increase the total levy amount collected from the current assessed valuation by more than 1% annually (the “levy lid”).
Levy Lid Lift: A taxing jurisdiction may seek voter approval to increase its levy by more than 1%, up to the statutory maximum rate of $1.50/$1000 of Assessed Value, for a specified amount of time. (We are asking to restore the rate to $1.40/$1000 of Assessed Value.)
What is a Levy Lid Lift?
A taxing jurisdiction that is collecting less than its maximum statutory levy rate may ask a simple majority of voters to “lift” the total levy amount collected from the current assessed valuation by more than 1% (RCW 84.55.050 – also see WAC 458-19-045, which provides a better understanding of the process than the statute). The new levy rate cannot exceed the maximum statutory rate.