Letters to the Editor

Regional Fire Authority tax is hidden from Kent voters

I second the statement from last week’s letter regarding the creation of a regional fire authority, “Opposed to regional fire authority plan,” April 16 Kent Reporter. I paraphrase it: “Vote for this measure with your eyes open.”

When I received the District 37 Dalmatians newsletter a couple of weeks ago and noticed their comparison of a taxation example comparing 2009 taxes with 2010 taxes it didn’t make sense to me. They are comparing high taxes due to higher valuations in 2009 to lower valuations and taxes in 2010 and making it sound like if we vote for this measure our taxes will be going down. No so! Your 2010 taxes went down because house values went down, not because of the new fire-benefit charge. I thought this to be very disingenuous. We are use to being lied to or misled about taxes from Washington, D.C., and Olympia (still not acceptable). I am not used to it coming from our local government.

Let me give you an example based on 2010 to 2010 numbers: I have a two-story house of 2,480 square feet. This year the portion of my property taxes that go to fire protection is $463.50. I called the fire district and they told me that my FBC (fire benefit charge) would be $216.36, plus the property tax portion of $1 per $1,000 - that is another $309.00. The total is $525.36. I just voted myself a $61.86 tax increase.

I understand the thought behind the current proposal to charge everyone based on square footage, use and manpower to put out a fire and risk for fire. It makes sense. But as was pointed out in the letter last week, governments and business are going to pass those charges on to us, making the increase hidden but none the less real. If you vote for this new taxing authority know that you are voting for a tax increase. As for me, I’m voting against it because I don’t like being lied to.

Adam Self

Kent

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