Property taxes, which fund 95 percent of the district’s budget, dropped 7.8 percent, according to Fire Chief Steve Brooks.
“That means our levy rate will float up to allow for the 1 percent cap on new revenue at the state limit,” he said.
The new levy rate would be $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed value.
Brooks doesn’t expect personnel cuts but said the district will be unable to reopen Station 35 off Willamette Road, which serves Hawks Prairie. The station was last staffed in March.
Benefits for employees rose 6 percent, but Brooks said this is the fifth consecutive year with no cost-of-living increases.
“It’s kind of a status quo budget,” he said.
The district is moving forward with new staffing for Medic 6 at Station 34 off Steilacoom Road, thanks to funding from a six-year contract with Medic One. The Steilacoom medic unit has one shift staffed, with plans to increase staffing to two shifts Jan. 1.
Full staffing is expected by July 1.
The district is trying to plan for 2014 and 2015, but Brooks said uncertain property values and rising costs of benefits make it hard to predict what will happen.
“We are confident in 2014 we can maintain at current operational levels,” Brooks said. “But 2015 would be pretty tight.”
A public hearing is set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Lacey Fire District 3 headquarters, 1231 Franz St. SE. The budget is set to be approved Nov. 15.Chelsea Krotzer: 360-754-5476 email@example.com theolympian.com/thisjustin @chelseakrotzer