Merger by the numbers
Tax collections for Issaquah District 10/Eastside Fire and Rescue (EF&R) and our Fall City Fire District 27 are not created equal.
District 10 collects its taxes on that year’s budget. Then, known as the Fire Benefit Charge, ranging from currently about 30 percent of budget, but can go as high as 60 percent is how they make up the difference without a vote of the people.
Fall City collects a fixed amount based on property tax levy, plus 1 percent and the value of new construction, along with voter-approved excess property tax levy. Our fire district creates a budget based on anticipated revenue. In 2018, Fall City underspent $190,000 that was saved primarily to capital replacement reserve.
Distrct 10/EF&R charges for ambulance transport which is counted within their budget. District 10/EF&R plans to collect $121,741 out of the Fall City area for transport fees and use the amount to represent a lower tax collection overall, implying that the merger shows a larger tax savings. Fall City does not charge to transport to the hospital. In 2018, Fall City made 160 no charge ambulance transports. A few years ago, I needed ambulance service out of Issaquah and after insurance, my out-of-pocket costs were still $500.
Fall City’s current budget includes one of the last two annual $59,000 engine loan payments plus $80,000 capital replacement reserve. District 10/EF&R’s budget shows no capital replacement reserve. Are we to believe they don’t collect for capital replacement now or in the future? Fall City’s budget should have been reduced for a more accurate comparison within the option to merge with District 10/EF&R.
The stated first year’s savings for your property taxes are estimates. Will they continue?
I will be voting “No.”
In the event of a structure fire or a medical emergency, minutes can mean the difference between a successful outcome and a devastating one. Your Fall City firefighters are expected to be in route to all 911 emergencies in two minutes or less. However, in the department’s current state, it is not guaranteed that enough properly trained firefighters will show up on the first unit in on your emergency. You can change this on April 23 with a vote of “Yes” in the special election.
As a current Fall City volunteer firefighter, I have witnessed many shifts where there have only been two career firefighters working. If an event took place that required specialized training or more resources and personnel, those firefighters may not have been able to effectively and safely control the scene and provide the best outcome for those involved. While mutual aid agreements do exist with neighboring departments to provide us with additional resources, it would take several minutes for them to arrive. In many cases, we don’t have minutes to spare.
A “Yes” vote will increase staffing minimums to three career firefighters immediately. It will also allow the volunteers additional opportunities for training, specialized certifications and call-volume experience that we currently do not have. This will ensure that the units responding from the current Fall City station will have enough properly trained firefighters responding to your emergency. Vote “Yes” on April 23 for better service from your fire department.
Show trust by voting “Yes”
My name is Jake Koehnen. I am a career lieutenant with Fire District 27 in Fall City. Like all of the Fall City firefighters, I am a member of Professional Firefighters Local 2878.
Professional Firefighters Local 2878 serves every community from Issaquah to North Bend, and from May Valley to Duvall.
One of the greatest things about this union is our desire to always improve how we provide emergency services to you. The decision to improve is what sits in front of you with the April 23rd vote on proposition 1. The merger is an opportunity that we believe in. Not because we get raises, or because we don’t like what Fall City Fire is currently doing, but because it improves our ability to provide emergency services in Fall City. There are several improvements that a “Yes” vote would bring, and if you visit www.king27fire.com there are links about the special election that provide the impacts of the proposed merger.
In 2013 and 2016 District 27 asked you to approve M&O levies to maintain the current level of service. We are grateful that you overwhelmingly voted “Yes” for those propositions. We are asking you to vote “Yes” again.
The merger between Fire District 10 and Fire District 27 is a good thing for the Fall City community. You trusted us when we asked for your approval on the two previous proposition 1 measures. Please trust us again and vote “Yes” on April 23.
Grateful to Inslee
Jerry Cornfield’s well written and well researched editorial raises important questions but misses the larger point.
It’s true that executive over-reach is dangerous for democracy. But comparing President Donald Trump and Gov. Jay Inslee in this regard is misleading. Trump’s executive orders concerning the environment risk killing this planet. Inslee’s measures are designed to save it.
The public is confused about climate change risks for many of the same reasons we were once confused about smoking risks. The tobacco industry spent billions producing bogus research, buying politicians and launching massive public relations campaigns. The energy industry is using similar strategies to confuse the climate discussion.
It is not yet known whether Inslee’s proposed rule change will be found either lawful or effective. What is known is that according to the most recent United Nations climate report, we will face a severe global crisis by 2040 unless prompt action is taken.
I am grateful to Gov. Inslee for taking action and using his platform to focus our attention on the most serious threat ever faced by humankind.
Peter D. Bullard