Opinion

Vote Yes for Snohomish County Fire District No. 19 Prop. 1 and 2

The Silvana Firefighters Association would like to ask you to vote Yes for Proposition 1 and Yes for Proposition 2 on Aug. 19. This community has experienced record growth in the last five years; as a result the needs of your fire department have also grown.

Did you know that all the firefighters are volunteers with the exception of a full-time chief?

Did you know that the hours we are staffed are only from six in the morning to six at night?

Proposition 1 is a vote to complete phase two construction started on Station 94. In 1998, voters approved the construction of phase one, but due to additional costs incurred through the permit and mitigation of wetlands, a large portion of the building could not be built. The bulk of the deleted portion of the building was sleeping and living quarters to accommodate 24 hour staffing.

Since the opening of the new building, emergency calls that we respond to have increased 51 percent. With all of this community's growth and increased demand it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure adequate numbers of volunteers responding at night. In addition, volunteers coming to the station from their homes at night add an additional six to eight minutes to the emergency response.

The increase of taxes will be approximately $0.17 per $1,000 assessed value, or $5 a month more for a home with a value of $350,000. That works out to just $0.16 per day. By voting Yes you are providing the Fire District with the facilities needed to ensure a more rapid response 24 hours a day for many years to come.

Proposition 2 is not a new tax. This proposition is just a re-authorization of the levy tax voters approved in 2003.

Buildings alone do not save lives. In the last five years, the number of volunteer firefighters has doubled, thus requiring additional money to be spent on training, equipment and administration of those new volunteers. Our department aggressively tries to allocate as much supplementary funding as possible through federal and local grants. To date it has risen close to $500,000 additional dollars. We pride ourselves on not asking the tax-payers for money we do not need.

Proposition 2 would amount to $0.68 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $20 more a month for a home with a value of $350,000 and as little as $0.65 cents per day. Re-authorizing this levy by voting Yes will allow your firefighters to continue to provide you the high level of emergency service you have come to enjoy and allow us to provide addition services you do not currently have.

Public information meetings have been scheduled for Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. and Aug. 13 at 7 p.m. at station 94 located at 2712 212th Street NW, Stanwood. District Commissioners and the Fire Chief will be on hand to answer questions.

Jeremy Swearengin is a member of the Silvana Firefighter's Association and is currently its president. He lives in Silvana.

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