Regional Fire Authority
Voters approve Regional Fire Authority
With voter approval in the April 2019 special election, the city and Fire District 12 will now move ahead together to establish the Regional Fire Authority. This fire model will ensure a stabilized funding source, increase efficiency and change the governance structure to better represent the residents served.
The new RFA will keep the Marysville Fire District name and service area. Firefighters, other staff and equipment will transfer to the new entity by October. RFA property tax collection begins in January 2020.
Why a Regional Fire Authority?
Fire and emergency medical services are some of the most important services we provide our residents. The City of Marysville and Fire District 12 are forwarding an RFA proposal to voters because:
- Population growth is driving increased demand. Calls for service have grown nearly 60% since 2011.
- Service needs are changing. Calls for service have increased, straining our ability to serve aging and vulnerable populations.
- The current financial model isn't sustainable. Expenses are greater than revenues with reserves funding gaps.
- The governance structure isn't representative. 80% of residents live within the city limits but city representation is 60%.
Goals for an RFA
- Maintaining quality fire and emergency medical services
- Providing stable and sustainable funding
- Improving efficiency and effectiveness of operations
- Promoting future growth within the organization
- Providing a representative governing board.
An RFA would meet increased demand and changing needs for services while creating a sustainable funding model for the future.
What is an RFA?
A Regional Fire Authority (RFA) is a special purpose district and independent taxing authority that provides funding for fire and emergency medical services. An RFA can be made up of cities, fire districts, or a combination of the two. There are currently 12 RFAs in Washington state, almost all in western Washington.
Creation of an RFA is authorized by state law. Marysville and Fire District 12 residents would have to approve the creation of an RFA.
How would an RFA be funded?
If voters approve the RFA measure, everyone within the service area will pay the same for fire and emergency services - $1.45 per $1,000 assessed value. City residents will pay more total property taxes because the city will continue to collect taxes for other city services including law enforcement, streets, etc.
The City of Marysville currently pays for fire response through the city's general fund, while a voter-approved levy pays for fire response in Fire District 12. (Emergency medical services through the Marysville Fire District are currently funded by separate voter-approved levies in both the City of Marysville and Fire District 12.)
An RFA would instead create a single dedicated funding source, with money collected going directly to the RFA versus passing through other jurisdictions. The levy would go into effect in 2020.
Inside city limits, the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $249 more a year in property taxes or about $21 more per month, which includes the RFA levy and city property taxes that support law enforcement and other city services. If the RFA measure passes, the city plans to reduce the regular city property tax from the current $1.77/$1,000 rate in 2019 to $1.15/$1,000 in 2020.
In District 12, the owner of a $300,000 home would pay about $129 more a year in property tax or about $11 more per month for the RFA levy only.