Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

UPLACE: Understanding the levy ballot measure

Letter by Ray Kmak, University Place on Aug. 12, 2011 at 11:46 am | 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.

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