This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.
Voters in the South King Fire & Rescue service area are being asked to go where few voters in this state have gone before: to approve something called a “benefit charge.”
This funding formula – one that isn’t based solely on the taxpayer’s property value – has been available to fire districts since the late 1980s but is in use in only a few, including Central Pierce Fire & Rescue.
The advantage of this diversified formula is that it provides more stable funding than one based solely on property values.
During the recession, with property tax collections plummeting, fire district funding took a hit. Assessed valuations in the Federal Way and Des Moines area served by the department dropped 14.6 percent, decreasing the fire district’s revenue by $3.7 million in 2010. Districts using a benefit charge for part of their funding have been better able to weather the downturn. Read more »