Why not merge fire districts?

Regarding the letter, “Snohomish levy doesn’t add up”: The writer uses his individual property assessed value increase of 214 percent to come up with a tax due increase of 73 percent (if the voters approve the levy on Aug. 6.)

A better figure to use is the total valuation of all properties within Fire District 4 boundaries. It increased from $2.8 billion in January 2012 to 3.086 billion on Jan. 1, 2013 or a total aggregate increase of 9.6 percent.

Currently, a typical Snohomish property has a total levy rate of 14.8 dollars per $1,000 of assessed value. With the passing of the Monroe Valley Hospital levy, with the rate increasing from 14 cents to 37 cents in 2014, plus the proposed Fire District 4 six-year levy rate going from 35 cents to 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, the total levy rate for 2014 would go to $15.18 from $14.80 in 2013. That, coupled with the 9.6 percent assessed value increase would amount to a total property tax payable increase of roughly 12.4 percent.

For example, a typical Snohomish home, valued at $300,000 in January 2012 would see its totally property tax bill go from $4,440 this year to 4,991 next year.

So, in other words, with the passage of both the hospital levy and the fire district levy, the average homeowner in Snohomish is going to see his total property tax bill jump about $551 next year.

Personally, I’d like to see the fire district follow the recent example of the city of Snohomish, which merged the police force with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office. The merger turned out to be a huge success, not only save city taxpayers $2.5 million in property taxes, but improved public safety and the morale of the police officers.

A likely candidate for a merger for Fire District 4 is with Fire District 7, headquartered in Clearview, just a few minutes away from the heart of Snohomish city.

Morgan Davis

Snohomish

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