As King County starts mailing out ballots this week, Kirkland will see a city-wide property tax levy proposal for the first time in almost 30 years, funding Fire and emergency medical services (EMS).
Proposition One on the Nov. 3 election ballot for Kirkland residents is a fire department and emergency medical services ballot measure that will fund improvements to city emergency response times and firefighter and EMT safety with an estimated $3.6 million annually.
The levy costs $23.51 for every $100,000 of assessed home value, and for the median Kirkland home value of $730,000 would come to $171 a year.
Proposition One was created by the city’s Community Safety Advisory Group, who’s support for the proposition strengthened after the COVID-19 pandemic hit Kirkland, according to a press release from Safer Kirkland, a group supporting the ballot measure.
If approved, the improvements would come from 20 additional firefighters, purchasing additional PPE, modernizing the existing fire stations and locating a new Fire Station 27 near EvergreenHealth and Interstate 405. Most fire stations in Kirkland at on average 35 years old and four are not up to modern health, safety or seismic standards.
“More than anything, the Kirkland Fire Department wants and needs to help our community to the absolute best of our ability,” Kirkland Fire Department Chief Joe Sanford stated in a press release. “The foundation of that ability is having the resources to respond to emergencies at industry-best standards. It’s having the resources to keep our firefighters safe,” he continued. “Proposition One provides the resources for faster emergency response and the resources to keep our firefighters and community safer, which benefits everybody.”
The measure would also improve response times to Kingsgate and Totem Lake.
No statement was written in opposition of the proposition on the ballot pamphlet. In favor was the group Safer Kirkland, that said this was a small levy increase to address the current and future needs of the fire department and emergency medical services.
“The bottom line is that Proposition One will save lives and better serve the city,” Mayor Penny Sweet stated in the same release. “It’s a recommendation that was developed by the community, for the community. This is reassurance that Prop. One is an effective and responsible approach, especially given the financial climate during this pandemic.”