Tulalip fire district hopes to hire 3 full-time firefighters

The department aims to pass a levy in November. Property taxes would go up by 34 cents per $1,000.

TULALIP — Fire District 15 of Tulalip Bay hopes to hire three more full-time firefighters.

The decision will be up to voters when they fill out their ballots for the Nov. 6 election. The measure would raise property taxes from $1.16 per $1,000 of assessed value, to $1.50 per $1,000.

The owner of a $300,000 house would pay $102 more a year.

The district wouldn’t be able to afford the extra help without approval, said Ryan Shaughnessy, fire chief for the Tulalip department, which mostly relies on volunteers.

“Volunteers are becoming harder and harder to find,” he said. “It’s a common problem throughout Snohomish County.”

The district has a chief and an assistant chief, three full-time captains and more than 20 volunteers.

With a “yes” vote, the station would be staffed daily with someone trained to operate the engines. That’s not always the case now.

Folks would be able to expect quicker response, Shaughnessy said.

The fire district covers more than 20 square miles. The department last ran a fire levy in 2002, which was approved.

“When they last voted there was about 500 calls per year,” he said.

That number has risen to nearly 1,300.

The department works out of one station, on Water Works Road. It provides service to those who live on the Tulalip Indian Reservation through a contract with the tribes.

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

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