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UPLACE: Understanding the levy ballot measure

Letter by Ray Kmak, University Place on Aug. 12, 2011 at 11:46 am with 7 Comments »
August 12, 2011 1:25 pm

It was nice to see additional information in The News Tribune regarding Fire Protection District No. 3 (West Pierce Fire & Rescue). To provide some focus to homeowners in University Place, I add the following:

University Place homeowners’ tax for fire services is the second largest tax on our tax bill.

The total current tax for fire services in University Place is $2.87 per $1,000 of assessed value. This overall tax actually has three components: $1.50 for fire services, 50 cents for emergency medical services and a special levy of 87 cents.

This new levy will raise the current 87-cent charge to $1.08 in 2012 (a 24 percent increase) and then to $1.19 in 2013 (an additional 10 percent). At the end of the two years, this special levy will have increased 37 percent from current rates.

If the estimated decrease in property assessments does not happen, it is unclear whether UP homeowners would see a decrease in this levy in the future. If this levy is not approved, we don’t know what will happen.

Presumably, this increased levy rate will add to the existing UP total rate of $14.728 per $1,000 (one of the highest in the state) after an 18 percent increase last year on top of the 5 percent increase in 2009.

When we are voting to tax ourselves for basic services, I think it would be educational to all who are actually paying for the services to better understand all that is involved and the underlying details.

Leave a comment Comments → 7
  1. old_benjamin says:

    You have to pass the levy first to understand it.

  2. itwasntmethistime says:

    No, you don’t have to pass it to understand the math. Here’s the math: right now, every single homeowner in UP pays an average of $717.50 per year to the fire department.

  3. truthbusterguy says:

    The fire dept doesn’t need another cent. I will be voting NO!!!!! My dead uncle is also a NO vote. I regestered my illegal landscaper who is also a NO vote.

    If firefighters need $$$$ let them stand in the street and hold out their boot for passing cars.

  4. harleyrider1 says:

    University Place – you haven’t seen any real taxes yet. These are just wanted to pay for one thing you already have. Buying land and building a new fire department was necesaary – wasn’t that the story? And merging with the Lakewood Fire Department saved you money – wasn’t that the story?

    Now back to my “you haven’t seen any real taxes yet” … you owe 50+miliions of dollars with daily interest for a town center that was visionary – wasn’t that the story?

    Well boys and girls, storytime is over. It’s time to pay for your spend, spend, spend mentality. You’re a small village and you could have just said no. But now you owe so it’s off to work you go.

    Spend, spend, spend. Just don’t expect others to pay for it in the end and stop whining.

  5. itwasntmethistime says:
    August 12, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    No, you don’t have to pass it to understand the math. Here’s the math: right now, every single homeowner in UP pays an average of $717.50 per year to the fire department.

    Actually, here is the math. U.P. homeowners currently pay $87/1000. This would increase to $1.08 / then to $1.19- an overall increase of 36 %. Stating this is a ‘renewal’ is factual incorrect. In 2013 it would collect over a half million dollar MORE . If this ‘increase was merel7y to account for declining prop assessments- then the total dollar amount would be the SAME.Pierce Count Fire website states that there were /no layoffs’ as a result of the /merger’- Share the before /after budgets to show clearly where the savings are. The whole issue has been manipulated to ‘hoodwink’ taxpayers yet again. We’re getting tired of this lack of transparency and honesty.

  6. itwasntmethistime says:

    This levy steps up next year because the fire department says it won’t be able to get by on even a little less if property values go down. Evidently they need every cent of the money generated by the artificially inflated property values of 2006 and 2007. Property values are down to somewhere near the 2002 levels right now. Why can’t we just adopt the 2002 budget since we know that’s how much tax revenue we are going to generate? It’s already written. If it was good enough in 2002 why won’t it work now?

  7. It’s not a little less or even the same amount as it increases by over half a million $$ in 2013. That is a tax increase but if they actually stated it that way, voters might have taken a different view of it. Property values are estimated to decrease by approx. another 12-15% over the 2 year period, but this levy increases by 34 %. They call it a ‘renewable’ hoping folks don’t see the word increase. In point of fact it is a renewal of the levy AND and increase well above the estimated decrease in property values.

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