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CENTRAL PIERCE: Voter support needed Aug. 16

Letter by Doug J. Willis, Puyallup on Aug. 3, 2011 at 11:34 am with 9 Comments »
August 3, 2011 4:06 pm

Thank you to The News Tribune for endorsing Central Pierce Fire & Rescue’s Aug. 16 ballot measures (editorial, 8-3). The emergency medical services levy and the fire benefit charge make up nearly half the fire district’s revenue and must be renewed by voters every six years. These are not new taxes or a tax increase.

Basic fire district funding was established back in the 1930s for rural volunteer departments. Many fire districts now serve more densely populated communities and have taken on more responsibilities such as emergency medical services, hazardous materials and technical rescue. Consequently, the Legislature has responded by providing temporary funding sources like the EMS levy and the fire benefit charge.

Regardless of these funding issues, declining property values continue to produce less revenue. The department and employees have already responded by freezing wages, reducing benefits and not filling open positions.

The men and women of Central Pierce Fire & Rescue are dedicated public servants and hope our citizens find value in the services we provide.

(Willis is the Central Pierce Fire & Rescue fire chief)

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. stetsonwalker says:

    Make you a deal, hire me so I can have a decent…or any job and I will vote yes and pay the additional tax.

  2. alindasue says:

    stetsonwalker,

    This is not a new tax but a renewal of one that has been collected for years. Employed or not, if you are already paying the property taxes, then continuing the operations budget funding won’t affect your own budget. If you aren’t paying property taxes, then you are just arguing against the levy just for the sake of arguing.

    Either way, the community needs EMS services, even when the economic situation is less than ideal.

  3. stetsonwalker says:

    Believe it or not, yes I m paying property tax and I am currently under water with the majority going to taxes. Voting to save money…

  4. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    Until we can afford a COLA for the seniors in this country we can’t afford to approve ANY type of tax measures, even existing ones.

    Why should we?

    alindasue, thanks for the firefighter union talking points.

    We need lower taxes not the status quo.

    I say let firefighters opt out of the $200 a month they are forced to pay their unions. These forced union dues could be used to off set the pending pay cuts that will occur after this bond measure fails.

    Voters, don’t fall for the “it’s for the kids” or “the firemen need this”. It’s time to just say NO!!

    Yes, I’m a NO vote.

  5. itwasntmethistime says:

    Voting NO will not dismantle the entire fire department. It will simply cut back on specialty training and equipment while still supporting everyday operations. They’ll still save your house if your kid catches it on fire with a lighter, but the haz mat team won’t come if your meth lab blows up. Until the economy improves it would be prudent to stay away from the edge of cliffs and to wear a life jacket when swimming in lakes and rivers.

  6. tree_guy says:

    Long past time to begin applying frugality to our every expenditure. Fire districts, figure out how to suck it up and give the property owners a break.

  7. truthbusterguy says:

    well said by tree guy

  8. What’s next – subscription only fire and police protection?

  9. itwasntmethistime says:

    They have subscription only fire service in Arizona.

    Can’t see how it would work for police service. Most of the people who encounter the fire department are pretty darned happy they showed up. It seems to me the people who need police intervention usually wish the cops hadn’t shown up. Frankly, I don’t think they’ll pay their premiums.

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