Daily operations are funded through two property tax levies for fire and emergency medical service (EMS). Voters approved a fire levy of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2008 and an EMS levy of 50 cents/$1,000 in 2015. Over time, these levy rates fall as property values rise to limit the fire authority to roughly the same amount of revenue per year, plus a one percent increase allowed by law. As a result, our fire levy has fallen to $1.36 in 2019 and our EMS levy is currently at 41 cents per $1,000. That's why fire districts ask voters to restore funding to previously approved amounts through "lid lifts."
We actively look for ways to save taxpayers money, such as applying for grants and developing regional partnerships to share resources and costs. We secured a $900,000 grant to maintain staffing levels during the recession. Recently, we earned a $400,000 grant to replace all breathing apparatus for firefighters. In 2018, the City of Stanwood annexed into the fire authority with taxpayers in both jurisdictions paying the same amount. We're also partnering with the Arlington Fire Department on programs, such as firefighter training and job sharing, that save money for our taxpayers while improving emergency services.