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Key Peninsula Fire's Property Tax Levy Leading Big

The Maintenance and Operations levy would cost the owner of a $175,000 home an additional $6.42 per month.

The Key Peninsula Fire Department is currently on track to receive additional funding to provide service to the community, according to the initial results released by the Pierce County Auditor's Office Tuesday night.

The Board of Fire Commissioners of Fire Protection District No. 16 voted to put the measure on the ballot after several devastating fires earlier this year.

According to the fire department press release, three fires in April and May highlighted the district’s long response times and overreliance on mutual aid. While no lives have been lost, two family pets died and one firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

On Aug. 31, 2012, the fire department received four emergency medical calls while battling an 11-acre wildfire. Fire Chief Tom Lique then said the department might not have been able to respond if firefighters from other districts assisted with the call.

Vote Vote % Yes 2,187 64.92% No 1,182 35.08% Total Votes 3,369 100%

The Key Peninsula Fire Department has the fifth highest property losses from fires in Pierce County because of its inability to provide an adequate response time. As a result, homeowners have also faced higher insurance premiums. The Maintenance and Operations levy would cost the owner of a $175,000 home an additional $6.42 per month.

The levy would fund eight firefighter positions, according to its press release. The fire district is facing significant challenges to provide an adequate emergency response for its service territory of 17,000 people over 65 square miles.

The measure would allow the District to levy the following excess taxes, on all taxable property within the District, to be used for maintenance and operations and to increase the current level of fire and emergency medical services.

Levy Year Collection Year Approximate Levy Rate Per $1,000 of Assessed Value Levy Amount 2012 2013 $0.44 $800,000 2013 2014 $0.46 $800,000 2014 2015 $0.49 $800,000 2015 2016 $0.49 $800,000

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