Fire levy lid lift will be on August primary

The Lacey Fire District 3 levy lid lift, which will be identified as Proposition No. 1, will be decided by the public after the fire commission voted unanimously Thursday to place it on the ballot for the August primary.

If approved by voters, the levy lid lift will take effect in 2015 and apply to the district’s service area, including the city of Lacey.

The district is calling for a levy lid lift to maintain and operate Station 35, the fire station on Willamette Drive in Hawks Prairie, which is a growing part of the city. Current funding for that station is provided by a two-year federal grant totaling $2.5 million that is set to expire in March 2015.

The district plans to apply for a grant extension but there’s no guarantee that it will be approved.

The station has closed once before due to lack of funding. Without the station, average emergency and non-emergency response times in the area will increase, officials say.

If approved by voters, it would raise the fire district levy to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or another $22 a year for a homeowner with a single-family residence valued at $200,000. The current levy rate is $1.39 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

The increase to $1.50 would raise about $1 million to $1.2 million for the district.

No testimony was heard during a second public hearing Thursday, but the fire commissioners did discuss the levy lid lift prior to their vote.

Commissioner Judy Wilson voted to approve the levy lid lift for the primary, as did her colleagues, but she also pointed out they don’t have a campaign committee in place, and that there’s a lot of work to be done to educate the community.

Previous levy lid lifts failed in 2008 and 2011.

“We have an awful lot of work to do,” she said.

The commission also approved ballot language saying that if the district should receive funds from another source, such as another federal grant, the district can choose not to levy the full amount authorized by voters.

Rolf Boone: 360-754-5403 rboone@theolympian.com