Arrow-right Camera
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

‘We can’t maintain the same level of service’: Newman Lake fire department making another case for levy

 (Molly Quinn / The Spokesman-Review)

For the third time, Spokane County Fire District 13 is asking voters to approve their levy – something that Newman Lake Fire Chief Daron Bement says is necessary if residents want firefighters to maintain their level of service to the community.

The district is asking for $1.30 per $1,000 in assessed home value. In 2022, the district’s fire commission asked for $1.50, and 62% of voters opposed it. In the August election this year, 59% of voters rejected the district’s request for $1.40.

Bement said there wasn’t enough public education about the levy to assert to voters what needs would be met, but at this point, fire employees are out knocking on doors. It’s down to the wire, he said, because Newman Lake Fire already has made extensive cuts to the department.

“Otherwise we will have to make some difficult decisions in regards to our services,” Bement said. “We’ve made several cuts to training opportunities and basically cut everywhere we can cut. We have to pay light bills and put fuel in the trucks, and we are still over budget.”

Newman Lake’s last levy was in 2017 at $1.40.

Bement said their goal isn’t to scare people, but at the moment, the department is operating at a level barely enough to serve an adequate response time. This comes into play especially after multiple wildfires plagued Spokane County in the summer of this year.

“We can’t maintain the same level of service,” Bement said. “Without the levy we can’t do any future improvements.”

Structure fires, wildfires, accidents, trauma incidents and medical responses are among specific services that will be supported by the levy, according to the department.

The levy, which would last five years, will appear on the Nov. 7 ballot.