The McLane Black Lake Fire Department (Thurston County fire districts 9 and 5) is requesting voter approval of a four-year maintenance and operations levy. It is to provide for replacement of aging equipment and apparatus, to support the capital maintenance needs of existing facilities, and to improve operational capabilities by restoring funding for both career and volunteer firefighters and emergency responders.
The regular tax levy in the combined districts has decreased by over $3.9 million per year since 2009 due to declining property values caused by the national recession. The regular levy amount is now insufficient to support essential staffing for emergency response reliability.
Scheduled equipment and apparatus replacement has been deferred. Capital facility maintenance has been postponed. Personnel have been reduced and federal grants that sustained funding for some firefighter positions have ended. Rejection of the proposed levy will lead to reduced operational capabilities and to further depletion of reserve funds needed for future apparatus and equipment replacement.
Your vote is needed to support the levy. For every $100,000 of assessed value, approval of the levy will result in less than a $20 per year increase in your property tax. As your voter pamphlet states, “use the power of your vote to promote your values …. democracy is not a spectator sport.“
Dale M. Putnam, commissioner
McLane Black Lake Fire Department, Olympia