A merger proposal would have brought together Snohomish County Fire District 7, serving Monroe and Clearview, and District 8 in Lake Stevens. (Snohomish County Fire District 7)

A merger proposal would have brought together Snohomish County Fire District 7, serving Monroe and Clearview, and District 8 in Lake Stevens. (Snohomish County Fire District 7)

Fire District 7 levy failed; North County count still close

The North County Fire Authority was “cautiously optimistic” that their levy lift would pass.

CLEARVIEW — Fire District 7 won’t be getting the levy lid lift it hoped voters would approve.

Proposition 1, which would allow a tax of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, was failing 48% to 52%. as of Friday afternoon.

The district’s current levy rate is $1.36 per $1,000 of assessed property value.

District 7 provides fire and life safety services to 110,000 people over 98.5 square miles in central and east Snohomish County, including the communities of Monroe, Maltby, Clearview and Mill Creek.

In a statement, the district said the levy failure may change how it funds emergency services.

“Currently in our budget we fund all capital projects in-budget, meaning we don’t go back to the public,” Chief Gary Meek said. “But if we cannot continue to pass the levy there’s a potential we’ll have to go out for a bond.”

As of now, he said the district will likely have to postpone capital projects and new hires.

Several of the district’s units, including station 72 near Bothell, are nearing a point where response times will be impacted by under-staffing.

The district’s finance committee will meet next week to determine a path forward, Meek said.

“I think we’ve got some groundwork to do with our citizens to determine what happened,” he said.

In the North County Fire Authority, a proposition to reset the fire and emergency services levy back to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value was still too close to call on Friday.

Voters originally approved the $1.50 rate in 2008, but it has dropped to $1.36 per $1,000.

“I am cautiously optimistic and we have our fingers crossed,” Chief John Cermak said.

The district provides fire suppression and emergency medical service to 25,000 people over 110 square miles, including the City of Stanwood.

Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.com.

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