Fire annexation vote scheduled for April 27

Voters will decide April 27 whether to annex the City of Lacey into Lacey Fire District No. 3.

Thurston County commissioners approved a resolution scheduling the special election with a unanimous vote Tuesday. The decision was the final step to get the issue on the ballot.

The Thurston County Boundary Review Board automatically approved the proposed annexation Monday after no requests for review were filed by the deadline.

Bills introduced in the Legislature to prevent the double taxation of city residents if they approve the annexation are moving forward.

About a decade ago, voters approved the city and the district issuing nearly $12 million in bonds to pay for three new fire stations, a vehicle-repair shop, a ladder truck and two fire engines. Without a change to state law, city voters paying the debt service on their share of the bonds through property taxes also would assume a share of the district’s outstanding bonds with annexation.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Brendan Williams, D-Olympia, to change the law passed the House last month on a 97-0 vote and has been assigned to a Senate committee. Sen. Karen Fraser, D-Thurston County, is the sponsor of the companion legislation, Senate Bill 6287, which awaits action by the Senate Rules Committee.

The legislation would give the fire district the authority to impose differing tax levies to prevent the inequity.