top of page

FIRE LEVY LID LIFT NOVEMBER 2023

GF - Social (4).png

I want to thank the community for their support of Granite Falls Fire Department’s fire levy lid lift in the November 7 general election. Because of you, we will fund additional firefighters, construct a new headquarters station, and replace a fire engine and ambulance.

 

We’re grateful our community sees the value of fire and emergency medical service. We will continue to report back to you as we make progress on the projects we promised.

 

Thank you for partnering with us to save lives and property.

 

Fire Chief Jim Haverfield

Frequently Asked Questions mail card – October 2023

MEDIA RELEASES AND NEWS

Letter to the Editor - November 8, 2023

Read our Newsletter

Community invited to learn more about fire levy lid lift - October 9, 2023

Granite Falls fire levy needed to add needed responders - The Daily Herald - September 12, 2023

 

Letter to the Editor from Captain Ted Bergstrom - September 9, 2023

Board of Fire Commissioners passes fire levy lid lift resolution - July 11, 2023

Snohomish County Fire District 17 facing service challenges - June 15, 2023

PRO/CON VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT: The Board of Commissioners for Granite Falls Fire Department approved a resolution to place a levy lid lift on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot. The district is accepting names of people interested in participating on a pro or con committee to provide a voter pamphlet statement . Residents interested in participating, please contact Fire Chief Jim Haverfield at Jim.Haverfield@gffd17.org by 2pm on July 26, 2023

BALLOTS DUE NOVEMBER 7

Ballots are due on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. For your vote to count, ballots must be postmarked that day, or returned to an official ballot drop location by 8 p.m. Ballot return locations in Snohomish County can be found here: https://snohomishcountywa.gov/5726/Find-a-Ballot-Drop-Box.

How we fund emergency services

The fire department funds daily operations through a fire levy capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. We also have a levy for emergency medical service (EMS) capped at $0.50 per $1,000. Both are paid through property taxes.

In 2019, voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.50. Since then, the rate has dropped to $0.98.

Why did the rate drop?

Over time, levy rates drop as property values rise to limit us to the same amount of revenue per year plus a 1 percent increase allowed by state law. Even if property values double, we can only collect 1 percent more in revenue.

This is called “levy compression” and impacts our ability to provide emergency services.

What is a fire levy lid lift?

Occasionally, we must ask voters to reset our fire levy, which is known as a levy lid lift. This helps us keep up with higher call volumes and costs to provide services. Our community has grown significantly, and in 2022 we responded to a record high of 2,800 calls – of which 68 percent were for medical emergencies (EMS). Since 2020, our call volumes have increased 40 percent – 23 percent in the last year alone.

We are also seeing more and more overlapping calls – that’s when two or more emergencies come in at the same time.

Levy lid lift will help reduce response times and improve service

Our emergency response system relies on full-time, part-time, and volunteer personnel to respond to calls. However, due to the lack of part-time and volunteer personnel, our full-time firefighters are working extra hours, resulting in additional costs for taxpayers.

We require additional personnel and adequate facilities to meet the emergency service needs of our community.

The lid lift would fund:

  • Up to seven firefighters over three years to reduce overtime costs and improve response times

  • Construction of a new headquarters fire station

  • Replace a fire engine and ambulance over the next six years

We have plans to build a new fire station to replace an existing one that was built in the early 1900s and poses a risk in the event of an earthquake. The existing station has insufficient space and cannot house modern equipment in its engine bays. Additionally, it lacks adequate facilities for decontamination, such as washing off carcinogens and medical waste after calls.

What will this cost?

In 2019, voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.50 per $1,000. This time, we are asking voters for $1.28 per $1,000. The $0.30 lid lift would change the fire levy rate from $0.98 to $1.28 and cost an additional $10 per month or $120 per year for the owner of a $400,000 home (considered average).

The measure is being considered for the November 7, 2023, general election ballot.

Fire Chief Jim Haverfield welcomes your questions at 360-691-5553 or jim.haverfield@gffd17.org.

What does “setting a limit factor of 106%” mean on the ballot?

The 106% is actually 6%. The ballot language is confusing, but it must be written that way for legal reasons. Fire districts can increase revenue by only 1% unless voters approve a different amount. The 6% would help us keep up with rising costs and inflation. This also reduces the number of times fire districts must be on ballot, which saves money on election costs. The Board can opt not to take an increase or one that is less than 6%. Board meetings are open to the public and residents are welcome to attend and provide comment.

Presentation Available

Chief Jim Haverfield welcomes the opportunity to provide a 15-to-30-minute presentation to local groups about emergency services that the fire district provides and the lid lift being considered, as well as answer any questions. If you’d like to arrange for a presentation, please contact the Chief Haverfield at 360-691-5553 or jim.haverfield@gffd17.org

Q&A Dates

Community invited to learn more about fire levy lid lift
Proposition will appear on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot

The Granite Falls Fire Department (Snohomish County Fire District 17) invites the community to learn more about the fire levy lid lift that will be on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot. The purpose of the lid lift is to improve emergency services.

Learn more at a Q&A session:

  • Tuesday, October 24 at 6 p.m. at 116 S. Granite Ave.

  • Saturday, October 28 at 9 a.m. at 116 S. Granite Ave.

 

 

 

 

Learn More

GF - Qs.png
GF - Social (2).png
bottom of page