Chelan County Fire District 1 will be asking voters to increase their property tax levy in August. Fire Chief Mike Burnett says lifting the levy lid is necessary to keep up with rising costs.
The fire district is looking to relocate and rebuild at some point in the future, and also faces rising operation costs throughout the district.
“In August we are planning on going to the voters and asking for a levy lid lift,” Burnett said. “Right now we are at $1.37 per thousand, and we’re asking to go up to $1.42 per thousand with the capabilities over the next six years to go as high as $1.50 based off assessed values but never above the statutory maximum of $1.50.”
Burnett said the increase could cover costs for a number of enhancements for the district
“Our goal is to bring on wildland firefighters, seasonal firefighters starting next year with this,” Burnett said. “And then the second year of the levy we want to continue funding some positions that we got from the SAFER Federal Grant that fully funded six positions.”
The six firefighters hired through the grant began in early 2017 and Burnett said he would like to keep funding in place to keep those firefighters on board.
“There is a lot of different things going on in the organization right now,” Burnett said. “Our funding is in place for the fire stations that we are currently working on. The replacement at the bottom of Squilchuck was partially funded through a grant, and we just closed at the old Prospector Pies location, that will be our central fire station probably two years from now.”