NWFRS to regroup after voters reject levy lid lift
By Jack Kintner
By a two-to-one margin, area voters soundly rejected Proposition One, North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Service’s (NWFRS) proposed seven and a half cents per thousand levy lid lift. According to NWFRS chief Tom Fields it’s back to the drawing board to deal with $300,000 less in anticipated revenue.
“It was not asking a lot,” he said, “only about $23 a year on a $300,000 home, but now we’ll have to revise our six-year financial plan to account for less revenue coming in.” Fields said that the levy lid lift failure will be felt in delayed apparatus replacement, capital projects and facility improvements.
“We had planned for a new ladder truck in 2009/2010,” Fields said, “but that’s now in doubt. The problem is that each year the cost of the apparatus we need and in many cases are legally required to have goes up by six percent.”
He stressed that, “operationally, there will be no difference.” The loss of the revenue increase will not affect current operations, he said.
The levy rate of $1.40 was actually approved by voters in the old Fire Protection District 13 (Blaine and Birch Bay) two years ago when it joined with district 3 (rural Lynden) to form NWFRS, also known as district 21. But Lynden voters rejected the increase so the state allowed a compromise between rates charged by the merging districts to the current rate of $1.32477 per thousand.
Fields said that the NWFRS commissioners may decide to return to the voters as early as next year with the same request.