PORT TOWNSEND — The board of commissioners of East Jefferson Fire Rescue will consider at a meeting Tuesday placing a permanent levy lid lift on the ballot in the Feb. 14, 2023, special election.
The lift is needed, the district has said, to pay for aging equipment and facilities, address a backlog of repairs, hire more experienced firefighters and EMTs, and, critically, end years of deficit funding that has eaten away at its reserves.
State law caps the amount taxing districts, like East Jefferson Fire Rescue, can impose on property to 1 percent annually. A levy lid lift is the means to exceed the 1 percent limit, but voters must approve it.
The special meeting and public hearing will be at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Chimacum Fire Station 1 at 9193 Rhody Drive, Chimacum. It also can be accessed virtually at https://meet.goto.com/837374949. The access code is 837-374-949. By phone, the number is 1-872-240-3212.
Commissioners approved EMS and general/fire levies of 1 percent at their Nov. 16 meeting, but acknowledged at the time that the revenue would not be sufficient to meet the upgrades, improvements and staffing the district needs to maintain the best practices for its service operations.
“They’re going to be looking at considering raising both of them and at what level,” said Bret Black, fire chief for East Jefferson and Port Ludlow Fire Districts.
The deadline for East Jefferson to submit a resolution to the Jefferson County auditor to have a levy lid lift placed on the ballot is Friday.
Voters in Port Ludlow approved in the Nov. 8 election the merger of the Port Ludlow Fire District into East Jefferson. A levy lid lift would apply to both districts.
Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.