Annexation could mean votes, savings for taxpayers in North Bend's Fire District 38

King County Fire Protection District 38, serving areas east of North Bend, is expanding.

Within a year, seven parcels of land totaling more than 20,000 acres will be added to the taxpayer-supported fire district’s service area, some by annexation, part by formalizing a state action that gave it forest lands eight years ago.

The fire district board is inviting public testimony on the expansion at its next meeting, 10 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the North Bend Depot.

District 38 is not required to hold a public hearing on the expansion, since 76 percent of registered voters signed the petition to annex about five acres of privately-held land. The bulk of the property is forested land that had been under DNR fire protection, but was placed under District 38’s protection in 1994 by the state legislature’s passage of WAC 332-24-730, which allocated forest lands to several fire districts.

The expansion will formalize the relationship between the district and the owners of both types of property, with a combined assessed value of roughly $23 million.

“It’s not a huge number in terms of the assessed valuation of the district,” said board member Ron Pedee, but “it’s still property that we protect.”

Property owners “should be able to vote,” he added.

The legislation that moved the forest lands into District 38’s service area was unclear on a few points, however, including how long the property would remain with the district. Because of that, the owners of these properties have been left out of some public processes. Although the King County Assessor’s office taxes them as being part of District 38, the King County Elections department does not recognize this inclusion, and so excludes these property owners from election mailings to District 38.

Also, Pedee said, “Their fire insurance companies believed they weren’t in the district, therefore they were paying exorbitant rates.”

The action that District 38 will take along with the annexation will make its relationship with those property owners official, and recognizable by both King County Elections and insurance companies. However, Pedee estimates the entire process will not be complete until about the spring of 2012.

Annex areas

The specific properties added to FD 38’s service area by WAC 332-24-730 include forest lands in the following sections:

• Township 23 North, Range 7 East, W.M., Section 1;

• Township 24 North, Range 7 East, W.M., Section 36;

• Township 23 North, Range 8 East, W.M., Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 35;

• Township 24 North, Range 8 East, W.M., Sections 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, the S 3/4 of Section 26, that portion of the SE 1/4 of Section 27 as bounded by 428th Avenue SE on the west and north and section line on the east and south, the N 1/2 and the SW 1/4 of Sections 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, the E 1/2 and the S 3/4 of the W 1/2 of Section 34, Section 35;

• Township 23 North, Range 9 East, W.M., Sections 7, 17, 18, 19, 30. etc.

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