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FD 16 schedules community meeting

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Mason County Fire District 16 has scheduled a public meeting March 16 to discuss placing a property tax levy lid lift on the April 26 ballot.

Fire Chief Donnie Rooks said the district is being proactive after a similar measure failed by only 12 votes during last November's general election.

"We're inviting the community to come out and listen to what we have to say," he said. "We are open to any questions that anyone has."

The district is asking voters to increase the amount of property tax paid to the districts from 90 cents per $1,000 to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Rooks said the district needs the increase because their service calls have more than doubled in the past three years.

"It has been almost a 100 percent increase, which is unheard of in the fire industry," he said.

The district runs on a $130,000-per-year budget, $114,000 of which comes from existing property tax. The other portion comes from a contract that provides the Washington Corrections Center fire support.

"The tax money we have is all we have," Rooks said. "We have to pass something; there is no savings."

Rooks said the lid lift would help the district pay for day-to-day operations and update its aging fleet of vehicles.

The district has two fire engines and water tenders, one bush truck, one ambulance and three support vehicles.

The fleet averages mileage over 100,000 and are 19 years old and many of the vehicles were bought used, Rooks said.

The aging fleet coupled with increased service calls has Rooks worried.

"It just causes you to lose confidence in your equipment," he said. "We are getting these vehicles used and they had already had a hard life and we put them through an even harder life.

"It makes it hard to rely on these vehicles."

Rooks is the only full-time employee in the fire district. Eight volunteers man the station and one part-time secretary rounds out the workforce.

The community meeting will be at 6 p.m. on March 16 at the Fire District 16 fire station, 4650 Dayton Airport Road.

Fire District 16 serves the area west and southwest of Shelton and east of Nahwatzel Lake.

Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: March 3, 2016

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