Mountain View Fire and Rescue (formerly known as King County Fire District 44) provides wildland firefighting, fire suppression, life safety, and Basic Life Support to approximately 20,000 people over 77 square miles. Its service area includes unincorporated King County near the cities of Auburn, Enumclaw, and Kent. Highly-trained emergency personnel respond to approximately 2,200 calls per year.

Mountain View Fire and Rescue funds fire and life safety services through a regular Fire Levy paid through property taxes. At times, the Fire District asks property owners to consider a Maintenance & Operations Levy (M&O Levy) to provide temporary funding for specific items. For example, voters approved a temporary M&O Levy of $0.30/$1000 of assessed property value in 2013 to replace revenue lost during the last recession. That M&O Levy expired in 2017.

Call volumes increased almost six percent last year. Our Fire District is limited to a one percent annual revenue increase in its Fire Levy by state law, and that’s not keeping up with the demand for service. More calls mean added wear and tear on emergency equipment. These capital items are too expensive to fund through our daily operating levy without cutting emergency service levels.

That’s why Mountain View Fire and Rescue is considering asking voters to approve a similar, temporary M&O Levy of $0.30 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The M&O Levy would replace emergency equipment (including an aging fire engine, water tender, and defibrillators used to assist victims of cardiac arrest); purchase protective gear to keep our firefighters safe; and, make major repairs to our facilities to extend their usable lives.

The M&O Levy would allow us to pay cash for these items instead of financing them through a bond, which lasts longer and costs taxpayers more due to interest payments. The M&O Levy would cost the owner of a $384,000 home (an average for our area) approximately $9.60 a month. It would expire in four years, but these capital items will last for 15-30 years.

The Board of Fire Commissioners will hold two public hearings on March 10th and March 24th to receive community input on the M&O Levy. Both meetings start at 6:30 p.m. at Station 95 located at 32316-148th Avenue SE in Auburn, 98092. If a resolution is approved, the funding measure would be on the August 4th Primary Election ballot for voter consideration.

Fire Chief Greg Smith also welcomes your questions. He can be reached at (253) 735-0284 or chiefsmith@mvfire.org. Thank you for considering our request.