On the November 3, 2015 ballot, Grays Harbor Fire District 2 (the “District”) will send Proposition No. 1 to the voters for their consideration. The proposition comes after a review of the District’s facilities and apparatus which identified the need to improve infrastructure that supports the delivery of services to the community, such as stations, apparatus and other equipment (e.g., fire engines, ambulance, and water tenders).
What is Proposition No. 1? If approved by voters, Proposition 1 would authorize the District to construct, renovate and expand fire protection facilities, including the purchase of firefighting and lifesaving equipment; to issue no more than $3.25 million of general obligation bonds maturing within a maximum of twenty (20) years, and to collect excess property taxes annually to repay the bonds as provided in Resolution 2015-03.
In order to pass, Proposition 1 must be approved by 60% of the voters and the overall voter turn-out must equal at least 40% of the total votes cast at the last preceding State general election.
Why do we need it? The capital equipment bond is needed to provide the funds necessary to improve the District’s facilities, apparatus and equipment. The proposition is designed to enable the District to address the facility and equipment needs described below:
• Lack of adequate housing for personnel, apparatus and equipment.
• Stations do not have adequate public meeting space; none currently have separate entrances or exits for use by the community.
• Stations do not have adequate living areas (including restrooms and sleeping areas) for the increasing number of personnel (including females), joining the organization.
• Stations do not have adequate space for apparatus and equipment; with a fleet of over 16 vehicles, several vehicles are currently stored outside and subject to adverse weather conditions.
• Stations are in need of structural upgrades to protect against natural disasters and upgrades to fire and security protection systems.
• The District’s first response fleet needs to be updated with improved capabilities because the average age of the fleet is over 20 years, with more than 60 percent being older.
Does the District have any other Bonds? No, the District is debt free and has not requested bond funding for facilities, apparatus or equipment since 1999.
What does this mean to the taxpayer in the District? The ballot measure proposes an excess (bond) property tax levy which is estimated to cost the owner of a $150,000 home approximately $7.63 per month or $92.00 per year, assuming a financing term of 15 years. The estimated bond levy rate is $0.61 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. The impact varies depending on the assessed value of each individual property.
Exemptions from taxes may be available to homeowners who are 61 or older, or disabled, and who meet certain income requirements. To determine if you qualify, call the Grays Harbor County Assessor (360) 249-4121.
For additional information concerning the Bond or Fire District 2, please feel free to contact Fire Chief Leonard Johnson at 360-532-6050