Proposed Fire Authority and Benefit Charge

King County Fire Districts 10 and 38 have been looking for a way to maintain quality emergency services and service levels for their communities. Costs continue to increase, and revenue is unstable due to changing property values and annexations by neighboring cities. Click here to watch a quick video explaining the RFA.

Many fire districts are merging to be more efficient and reduce costs long-term for taxpayers. That’s why voters are being asked to combine Fire Districts 10 and 38 into one “fire authority” on the November General Election ballot.

The fire authority would be funded with a traditional fire levy and a benefit charge. Voters in 11 other local Washington communities, including Fire District 10, have approved this funding model because they feel it is a more equitable way to fund emergency services.

The benefit charge replaces approximately a third of the fire levy with an annual charge based on the size of a building and its risk for fire. Smaller structures (such as single-family homes) are charged less than larger buildings because it costs less to defend them in a fire. The benefit charge is voter-approved and adjusted annually up or down to meet the demand for service in the community.

If approved by voters, property owners in Fire District 10 would see a tax decrease for emergency services of approximately 23 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Those in Fire District 38 would see an average tax increase of 20 cents per $1,000 because the current fire levy rate is not enough to maintain service levels based on future annexations by surrounding cities.

You can use the calculator to see the difference in what you would pay for emergency services in 2016 compared to 2017. Please note that these numbers are based on 2016 assessed valuations for your property and could vary slightly. Click here for the Calculator

On the November ballot, voters in Fire Districts 10 and 38 are being asked to combine into one Fire Authority that would reduce costs, maintain emergency service levels, and improve efficiencies for taxpayers long-term. Do you have questions about the fire authority proposal? Answers to frequently asked questions can be viewed here.