We provide fire suppression and emergency medical service (EMS) to 160,000 people in Lake Stevens, Monroe, and unincorporated southeast Snohomish County. We respond to an average of 16,000 calls a year, of which 85% percent are for emergency medical service (EMS).
We operate under a balanced budget and have passed all independent audits by the state. In February 2023, we became the only fire agency in Snohomish County and just the eighth in the state to become an accredited fire agency through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. This means we provide a higher level of emergency services while operating under the highest level of fiscal responsibility and accountability. This achievement was possible thanks to the ongoing support of our community.
Daily operations are funded by a fire levy and EMS levy paid through property taxes. The fire levy rate is capped at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value, and the EMS levy rate is capped at $0.50. Voters last approved a fire levy rate of $1.50 per $1,000 in 2021. Since then, the rate has dropped to $1.14.
Levy rates fall as property values rise to limit a fire district to approximately the same amount of revenue each year plus a one percent increase allowed by state law or any other voter-approved increase. This means the funding a fire district receives does not equate to assessed property value increases. This is called "levy compression" and is why fire districts must regularly ask voters for a "lid lift" to restore funding for emergency services.
From time to time, we must ask voters to restore our fire levy. This is known as a levy lid lift, and it helps us keep up with costs to provide services. Voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.50 in 2021. Since then, the rate has dropped to $1.14.
We are asking voters to approve a fire levy lid lift of $0.36 per $1,000 during the November 7, 2023, general election. The lid lift would return the rate to $1.50.
The owner of a $600,000 home would pay an additional $18 per month or $216 per year.
Fire Chief Kevin O'Brien welcomes your questions at 360-794-7666 or
Fire Chief Kevin O'Brien welcomes the opportunity to present to local groups and answer questions about the emergency and prevention services we provide here at SRFR. If you'd like to schedule a presentation, please contact Fire Chief O'Brien at (360) 794-7666 or email at .