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Fire Facilities, Fleet & Operations Levy

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Fire Facilities, Fleet, & Operations Levy Lid Lift

 

News Releases and Presentations

 

Fire Chief Tory Green presented the levy lid lift to the City Council at the April 9, 2024, Study Session. 

 

 

Fire Chief Tory Green presented the levy lid lift ballot language to the City Council at the June 11, 2024, Study Session.

 

About this Levy Lid Lift

The proposed City of Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) Facilities, Fleet, & Operating Levy Lid Lift will be on the November 5, 2024, ballot. This measure would support improvements to TFD facilities, fire engines, essential equipment, and new staffing to improve response capacity and firefighter safety. 

 

Key details:

  • Increases the regular City of Tacoma property tax levy by $0.65/$1,000.
  • Generates approximately $30M per year.
  • If this levy is approved, the average Tacoma homeowner (with a house valued at $450,000) will pay $25 more per month.

Safeguarding our Community

The Tacoma Fire Department's mission is to protect people, property, and the environment and compassionately serve the community. Over 450 firefighters serve our response area from 17 fire stations staffed 24/7/365. There are roughly 72 square miles within the City limits and contract areas of Fircrest and Fife/Pierce County Fire District 10, along with 44 miles of shoreline, 25 square miles of saltwater, and an estimated population of 243,000. In 2023, we responded to 51,499 emergency incidents. 

 

Why is the Levy needed?

 

Facilities 

"Despite investments and recent renovations to older facilities, many of TFD's 26 facilities have exceeded their useful life, are in poor or critical condition (85%), are undersized, and lack modern systems to support firefighter health and safety" - 2024 Fire Facilities Master Plan 

Facilities Plan

 

 

Fleet

Over 60% of our fleet is past its useful life, and many fail to provide adequate safety and reliability for emergency response (for example, the inability to pump water into a burning building).

 

fire engine

 

Equipment

Currently, the department has no ongoing funding source for essential equipment (e.g., self-contained breathing apparatus, vehicle extrication tools, thermal imaging cameras, etc.) 

 

extrication tool

 

Increasing Call Volume

This levy helps us keep up with growth. Since 2010, our area’s population has grown by about 9%, but TFD’s call volume has increased by 36%. No additional first response units have been added during this time.

 

call volume

 

 

What will the levy pay for?

It will provide $8M per year to address facilities, $3M per year to address apparatus needs, and over $2M per year to replace essential equipment. This funding will allow the department to deploy additional first-response units to reduce ever-increasing response times and provide stable funding for existing staff and department operating expenses.

 

 

funding categories

 

How will I benefit from the levy?

This funding will allow the department to expand our facilities and deploy additional first-response units, which means more firefighters are available to respond to an emergency in your neighborhood.

 

facilities map

 

 

What will happen if I vote no?

Our response times will continue to take longer, and our apparatus, stations, and essential equipment will deteriorate.

 

Standard of Cover

 

 

Is anyone exempt from the levy?

Qualifying seniors, veterans, and others would be exempt, per RCW 84.36.381.

 

How much will it cost me?

If this levy is approved, the average Tacoma homeowner (with a house valued at approximately $450,000) will pay $25 more per month.

 

Levy details:

  • This is an increase to the regular property tax levy by $0.65 per $1,000 to a maximum rate of $2.39/$1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2025;
  • Authorizes a limit factor of up to 106% for 2026-2030 for the additional rate;
  • Authorizes the 2030 levy amount be used as the basis for calculating future levies.  

Is homelessness the reason for the increase in call volume?

  • Many factors contribute to the utilization of fire department emergency response resources.
  • The population in Tacoma has increased and continues to grow. More residents typically result in more calls to 911. 
  • The increasing lack of access to healthcare and mental health resources in the community results in some people using 911 as their primary healthcare provider for those desperately needed services. 
  • Those experiencing homelessness also have many of the same health conditions as their housed counterparts, but in extreme conditions and with fewer resources, resulting in heavy reliance upon emergency services.

How to Vote

Questions? 

Fire Chief Tory Green welcomes your questions at (253) 591-5774 or email tfdfirelevy@cityoftacoma.org.

 

firefighters

 

 



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