The Board of Fire Commissioners for Mountain View Fire and Rescue unanimously passed a resolution to place a Maintenance and Operations Levy (M&O Levy) on the Aug. 4 primary election ballot. If approved by voters, funding would be used to purchase protective gear for firefighters, replace a fire engine and water tender, and make repairs to fire stations to extend their usable lives.
“This is not because of COVID-19. We want to be clear on that,” said Fire Chief Greg Smith in a news release. “This funding request was planned prior to the pandemic to meet some of our operational needs. However, we are expecting call volumes to increase and this revenue can help us pay additional costs associated with responding. It is timely.”
Mountain View Fire and Rescue (formerly known as King County Fire District 44) provides wildland firefighting, fire suppression, life safety and basic life support to approximately 20,000 people over 77 square miles. Its service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw and Kent.
Daily operations at Mountain View Fire and Rescue are funded through a regular fire levy paid through property taxes. From time to time, the fire district asks voters for temporary funding through an M&O Levy. In 2013, voters approved an M&O Levy of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to replace revenue lost during the last recession. That M&O Levy expired in 2017.
Call volumes increased almost 6% last year for the fire district, which responds to approximately 2,200 emergencies a year. The fire district is limited to a 1% annual revenue increase in its fire levy by state law, which is not keeping up with the demand for service.
That’s why the fire district is asking voters to approve a temporary M&O Levy of 30 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The cost of the M&O Levy would be $9.60 a month for the owner of a $384,000 home (an average for the area). The M&O Levy would expire in four years.
More information can be found at www.mvfire.org. Chief Greg Smith is also available to answer questions at 253-735-0284 or firstname.lastname@example.org.