Spokane County Fire District 3 asks voters to establish Emergency Medical Services levy

SPANGLE, Wash. — In this year’s primary election, there is a new proposal from Spokane County Fire District 3.

The new property tax levy is for fire protection and emergency medical services to boost the district’s operation, especially when it comes to adding more firefighting staff.

“Our goal is to always get there with the right resources for the right place at the right time,” said Cody Rohrbach, Spokane County Fire District 3 Chief.

More than 160 firefighters at 11 stations are available to serve 570 square miles in Southwest Spokane County.

In the last four years, the call volume for emergencies has more than doubled. Chief Rohrbach says it has been challenging to respond to those calls quickly.

“A number of firefighters have remained flat. We are trying to do twice the work with the same number of responders,” Rohrbach said.

This new levy will go toward hiring more firefighters and lower the average response time from over 14 minutes to 8 minutes.

The levy would cost 50 cents per $1,000 of property value next year.

“If it passes, the taxes on 300-thousand dollar house will be 519 dollars. If it does not pass, it will be 367 dollars and 87 cents,” said Tom Konis, Spokane County Assessor.

In other words, if it passes, around $150 will be added to your next tax bill.

However, Konis says the taxpayers should not be worried about this potential change.

“That could only increase one percent next year, yeah that could get one percent, but that’s really about all they can do,” Konis said.

The taxpayers will be able to see those changes when the next tax bills come out in late February and early March next year.

The Spokane County Elections office will certify the results on August 16th.

READ: Spokane County Fire propositions in close race for approval