NKFR asks voters to approve tax levy

North Kitsap Fire & Rescue will be turning to voters this November in hopes they will approve a tax levy to replace an expiring maintenance and operations levy, approved by voters back in 2014.

The proposed four-year levy would gather the department $1.6 million annually starting in 2019. If passed, property owners would pay $0.48 per $1,000 of assessed property value, about $0.28 more than the 2018 rate. While the levy will be an increase, a press release from NKF&R suggests that overall, it may not be by much.

“Because two of the district’s voter-approved measures are expiring and increasing assessed valuations are causing other levy rates to fall, it’s estimated that approval of the new M&O [levy] will result in a total fire tax rate for most of the district’s property owners that’s about the same as the 2018 rate.”

At the end of 2018, $5.5 million in bond funds will be paid off, which cost property owners $0.15 per $1,000 of assessed value in 2018.

Funds from the M&O levy will go toward replacing roofs, front doors, bathroom fixtures and painting as well as employee salaries and other operating costs. Additionally, funds gathered from the levy will pay for three ambulances, one water tender truck, a fire engine and several support vehicles. In 2017, 82 percent of NKF&R revenue came from tax dollars.

NKF&R also stated that the November levy is in part an attempt by NKF&R to recover from the residual effects of the 2008 economic downturn, which saw significant decreases to property values and thereby significant losses in revenue generated from levies. The communities within District 14 (Hansville, Driftwood Key, Shorewoods, Cliffside and Eglon) were not levied in the 1999 bond because these communities were not included in NKF&R jurisdiction when the bonds were approved.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. Nick can be reached at ntwietmeyer@soundpublishing.com.