On Nov. 3, voters in the North Whidbey Fire and Rescue District will see a request for a much-needed tax levy increase on their ballots. If approved by the voters, it will be the first time in 22 years that the citizens supported such a request.
For many years, the fire district has operated under the fiscally-conservative “pay-as you-go” philosophy, incurring virtually no debt. But that strategy has now caught up with the ever-increasing cost of providing fire and EMS services, and the new fire chief just does not have the money he needs to equip his firefighters and meet current standards.
That’s why the chief and board of fire commissioners are asking for a nominal increase in the fire tax rate of 62 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value to 77 cents.
That’s all, a mere 15 cent increase, or about $50 per year.
As a retired public employee living on a fixed-income, I am reluctant to approve and pay higher taxes. But I also want, and expect, trained, professional, courteous and adequately equipped firefighters to arrive quickly should I ever need them.
I will be voting “yes” on the fire tax lid lift in November.