How is our Fire District funded?
We are funded primarily through property taxes.
FIRE: We receive a maximum of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.
EMS (Ambulance): We receive a maximum of $0.50 per $1,000 of assessed value,
Fire Districts in Washington State are primarily funded through property taxes. These taxes are based on the assessed valuation of each property within the fire district’s boundaries. A Fire District can levy up to a maximum of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed valuation. See RCW 52 for more information about Fire Protection Districts.
Local governments in Washington State may, with voter approval, impose a property tax of up to $0.50 per $1,000 assessed value for emergency medical services (EMS) under RCW 84.52.069. The revenues may be used only for the provision of emergency medical care or emergency medical services, including related personnel costs, training for such personnel, and related equipment, supplies, vehicles and structures needed for the provision of emergency medical care or emergency medical services (see RCW 84.52.069(5)).
The levy may last for 6 consecutive years, 10 consecutive years, or permanently. There are different requirements depending on which option is selected.
We are not allowed to collect more than the amount shown above, per State Law, ensuring you will not see an added increase. This is the current tax structure we have had for 20+ years.
*Senior Citizens or fixed income citizens, please check with the County Auditor as you may be qualified for tax exemption.
Estimated Annual Tax Calculator
Fire Levy is $1.50 per $1,000 of Assessed Home Value.
EMS Levy is $0.50 per $1,000 of Assesse Home Value.
The Board of Benton County Fire Protection District #2 adopted Resolution 2018-01 concerning a proposition to maintain and adequately fund District operations.
Voters approved this levy to renew and replace an existing levy; authorize the District to maintain its regular property tax levy not exceeding $1.50 per $1,000.00 assessed valuation for 2019 collection; and authorize setting a limit factor of 8% above the prior year for each of the five succeeding years for fire protection. The 2023 maximum allowable levy for 2024 collection shall serve as the base for subsequent levy limitations provided in RCW 84.55.
On May 9, 2022 the Board of Commissioners of Benton County Fire Protection District #2 adopted Resolution 2022-02, placing on the primary election ballot a proposition authorizing a renewal of the current EMS Levy not to exceed $0.50 per $1,000 dollars of assessed property value.
Voters approved this levy to renew its regular property tax EMS levy of $0.50 per $1,000.00 assessed valuation for a period of 10 years, beginning with 2022 assessments for collection in 2023, and continuing through the 2031 assessments for 2032 collections. It would also authorize setting a limit factor for annual increases of 1% above the prior year for assessments in 2022 for collection in 2023, and continuing at that rate for five succeeding years through 2027 assessments for 2028 collection, with statutory increases thereafter (but not to exceed the $0.50 rate). The 2027 maximum allowable levy collected in 2028 shall serve as the base for subsequent levy limitations as provided in RCW 84.55.
This levy would provide funding to ambulance service to the citizens of our Fire District. It is used to provide staffing, supplies, and other associated costs with providing this service.
When State Initiative 695 and 747 passed, it caused our fire district to only be eligible for a 1% increase above the last year’s budget, plus new construction, unless voted upon for an increase. Prior to these initiatives, we were able to take up to a 6% increase above the previous year’s levy to help maintain our levy rates. When calculated out, this 6% did not put excess money in our pocket, but it did allow us to maintain service levels, while providing for our firefighters’ safety and meeting state and federal laws.
Without the continuation of the LID, we will be held to a 1% annual increase. This will cause a reduction of our budget every year, compounding the decrease in operating funds. Although the reduction seems small at first, over several years it will become a serious shortfall. After exhausting all other means possible, we will be forced to go back to the public, and ask you to help support us so we can continue to provide you with the same level of service. We do not ask for a new tax increase, but to CONTINUE our funding to where it currently is. The issue is that everything we are required to purchase, to continue servicing you, has increased way above the 1%. For example: one set of firefighter turnouts, and related equipment for one volunteer firefighter, costs over $3,500, compared to five years ago, at a cost of $1,600. Our 911 dispatch costs have risen to more than 23%, ambulances and fire trucks have increased over 20%, and we know what fuel costs have done. These are some of the small examples of our cost increases. Future purchases are expected to continue to increase.
Fifteen years ago we responded to only 600 calls to our nearly 10,000 residents. We now respond to 1,300 calls annually, all the while providing a better-equipped and trained fire department. This is primarily due to grant awards and personal dedication of our volunteers. Our volunteers are required to put in basically one year of training before they are even qualified to respond to your emergency.
Our training requirements are no different than any other combination, both volunteer and career full-time, district. This costs us thousands of dollars per person, and the dedication our community volunteers provide us is not only remarkable, but also dangerous. We are only 3 of 6 volunteer departments, in our area, that provide ambulance services to our community. The other is Patterson and West Richland.