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Ballots for Monroe fire levy increase in mail

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By Rikki King
Herald Writer
@rikkiking
Published:
MONROE -- Snohomish County Fire District 3 in Monroe is asking voters to approve an additional levy for fire and emergency medical services.
The district currently draws $2 for every $1,000 of property value, Fire Chief Jamie Silva said. If approved, the maintenance and operations levy would increase that to $2.96 per 1,000.
The owner of a $200,000 home who now pays $400 a year would pay $592.
Ballots mail today. The levy requires 60 percent approval to pass.
The fire commissioners decided to seek additional funds because of sagging revenues, Silva said. The 2012 projected revenues were $6.6 million and operating expenses were $7.3 million.
About 80 percent of district revenue comes from taxes, Silva said. The rest comes from a mix of sources, including ambulance transport fees and contracted services for neighboring fire districts.
The Monroe fire district has been postponing equipment and other purchases, leaving positions unfilled and cutting discretionary spending, Silva said. Employees also didn't take cost-of-living pay increases for 2011 or 2012.
If the levy doesn't pass, the district will have to make cuts to emergency services, Silva said. That likely would include layoffs, shutting down at least one station and cutting back on training for special operations such as flood and swiftwater rescues and hazardous materials emergencies.
"Depending on where you live and how many calls were before you, it will increase our response times and our capabilities to be able to respond to your emergency," Silva said.
The levy, if approved, would bring the district $2.25 million per year for the next four years.
The Monroe fire district serves about 29,000 people over 55 square miles.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » MonroeFirefightingTaxesLocal elections

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