Property taxes continue to rise. But I encourage residents to carefully consider the West Pierce Fire & Rescue (formerly University Place and Lakewood fire departments) request to renew their operations levy that funds over one quarter of essential services.
As a 32-year veteran in the fire service and an international fire services leader, I have worked with fire departments across the nation. In fact, I have been asked to conduct multiple critical assessments of fire service organizations seeking professional accreditation. West Pierce has taken many steps toward positioning itself as one of these elite organizations.
Over the past years, consider what West Pierce has accomplished to become more efficient while remaining effective. Emergency and support programs have reduced operating costs; employees have deferred pay raises; the two departments have consolidated and eliminated duplication; West Pierce has received numerous grants adding firefighters, equipment, and apparatus – all while continuing to answer more emergency calls each year.
The fire commissioners, leadership and employees have done more with less. Now it’s our time to step forward.
Our state’s laws limit the ability and means to fund our essential emergency fire and medical services. West Pierce is limited to amounts and durations of taxation until voted on by their customers. It is time for us to show and support the professional men and women of West Pierce by renewing this two-year special levy. They deserve our vote and financial commitment.