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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire districts 2 and 12 seek to replace existing levies

Several small towns and rural fire districts in south Spokane County are asking voters to renew existing levies for emergency medical services, police coverage or equipment.

Spokane County Fire District 2, which encompasses the area around Fairfield, and Spokane County Fire District 12, which includes Latah and Waverly, are both asking for six-year emergency medical services levies of 50 cents per $1,000 in assessed home value. Both will replace existing levies that are expiring.

“It won’t change anyone’s taxes at all,” said District 2 Fire Chief Ken Fuchs.

District 2 will use the money raised with the levy for EMS training and supplies and to maintain its ambulance. “We’re one of the only two ambulances other than AMR in Spokane County,” Fuchs said.

District 12 will use its levy money primarily for EMS training and supplies, said district secretary Kynda Browning. “Probably 90 percent of our calls in our district are EMS calls,” she said. “We have very few fire calls.”

The levies are key sources of revenue for the small districts that depend on volunteers for their staffing. “If we didn’t have that coming in, we’d have a difficult time keeping our operation going,” Fuchs said.

Browning said voters usually approve the levy. “I think most of the people in the area know how important this is,” she said.

The town of Rockford is asking for a one-year levy of 51 cents per $1,000 in assessed value for fire protection services. It is replacing an expiring levy. The town needs the money to pay for updated equipment, including replacing the turnout gear worn by firefighters when they fight fires, said Rockford Mayor Steve Meyer.

“I hope people realize that the fire budget is very, very important to our town and to the town’s safety,” he said.

There was one year recently when voters failed to approve the levy and Meyer said it would be difficult to get by without it. “It would make it harder for us to maintain the service we’ve got,” Meyer said.

The town of Spangle has two levies on the ballot, one for fire protection and one for police protection. The money would be used to pay for the town’s contracts with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office and Spokane County Fire District 3, said town clerk Peggy Mangis.

Both one-year levies are replacing expiring levies. The fire protection levy would be $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed home value and the police levy would be $1.19 per $1,000 in value.

The amounts of money raised are relatively small due to the town’s size. The fire levy would collect $23,000 and the police levy $17,000.

Paying for the two contracts out of the town’s $300,000 annual budget would be difficult, Mangis said. “They haven’t failed before, so I’m pretty hopeful that they’ll continue to support those levies,” she said.

Ballots are being mailed starting this week. In order to be accepted, ballots returned by mail must have proper postage and be postmarked Nov. 4 or earlier. Ballots also can be dropped off without postage at official elections drop boxes by 8 p.m. Nov. 4.

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