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Gold Bar fire levy on August ballot

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
GOLD BAR -- Firefighters in Gold Bar are asking voters to approve an additional levy on the August ballot.
New projections show that Snohomish County Fire District 26 in Gold Bar can expect its revenues from property taxes to continue dropping for the next few years.
The district's budget was $790,000 in 2012. Most of the annual budget comes from property taxes for fire and emergency medical services. About $60,000 comes from ambulance fees, and some money comes from grants.
The district drew $616,834 in property tax revenue this year, a number that's expected to be about $501,370 for 2014.
The drop could make it difficult to keep around-the-clock staffing at Fire Station 54 along U.S. 2, Fire Chief Eric Andrews said.
The fire district already has been making cuts, such as not replacing aging apparatus, he said. Several firefighters, including the chief, have stopped drawing their part-time stipends as well.
The district has one paid civilian secretary, and crew members typically are paid about $65 per daytime shift and $25 for nighttime shift.
This summer, the district is floating a maintenance and operations levy that, if approved, would bring in an additional $150,000 every year for the next four years.
That translates to roughly 49 cents for every $1,000 of property value.
The district currently draws $2 for every $1,000 of property value. If the levy is approved, the owner of a $200,000 house who now pays $400 a year would pay an estimated $498.
The levy requires a 60 percent minimum yes-vote to pass. Ballots mail on July 19.
Keeping a limited shift of volunteers at one station around-the-clock means faster responses to emergencies, Andrews said. Otherwise, people have to drive to the station from home before going on the call.
Fire District 26 serves 6,500 people over 37 square miles. It also provides advanced medical service to the Index, Skykomish and Stevens Pass areas.
The district gets about 840 emergency calls a year, most of them medical.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449;
Story tags » Gold BarFirefightingTaxesLocal elections

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