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City of Snoqualmie Public Safety Levy for November 2016 Ballot


City of Snoqualmie Proposition 1

On November 8, 2016, Snoqualmie voters approved Proposition 1, the Public Safety Levy. The proposition was for a public safety operations levy to fund a public safety plan, including hiring an estimated two additional full-time police officers and an estimated one additional full-time firefighter to maintain appropriate service levels and response times for police, fire, and emergency services.

Facts & Information about Prop. 1

Police, Fire, and Emergency Medical Services in Snoqualmie

In 2015, the Snoqualmie fire and police departments responded to more than  7,000 calls in an average response time of five minutes.  Both departments have a goal of “No Call Too Small,” which means they respond to every call. However, without additional funding, the City cannot afford to maintain this level of service and response times for police and fire could increase. 

  • In the past 15 years, the Snoqualmie Fire Department has hired only two new positions even though the city’s population has more than tripled in that time. Calls for fire and emergency medical services have increased by more than 44 percent. 
  • The Snoqualmie Police Department has the same number of officers as it did in 2001. However, since that time, calls for service within the City of Snoqualmie have increased by 61 percent. 

Would This Levy Fund North Bend Police Services? 

No. This public safety levy is for services dedicated to Snoqualmie residents, businesses, and visitors. The two additional police officers this levy would fund would serve Snoqualmie, not North Bend. Police officers hired for service to North Bend are paid through a contract with the City of North Bend, which pays for all associated costs including salaries, benefits, uniforms, vehicles, and equipment.

What Would the Levy Fund?
 
The additional police and firefighter positions this levy would fund address the following budget priorities identified by the Snoqualmie City Council. 
  • Maintain appropriate levels of service for fire and emergency medical services for Basic Life Support and emergency response; 
  • Meet the Snoqualmie Fire Department’s goal and nationally-recognized service standard of having three firefighters on duty 24 hours a day and available to respond to more than one fire or emergency medical call at a time; Maintain fast response times to 911 calls; and
  • Maintain the “No Call Too Small” community standard of responding to every 911 call.
What Would the Levy Cost?
 
As approved by voters, property taxes in Snoqualmie increased $0.23 per $1,000 to a maximum rate of $2.78/$1,000 of assessed valuation. 
  • For the owner of a $500,000 (the average assessed value of a home in Snoqualmie), the tax increase is approximately $115 per year, or $9.58 per month.
  • For a home valued at $375,000 the cost is approximately $86 per year, or $7.19 per month.

The amount of the levy collected in 2017 will be used to calculate subsequent levy limits.

Under state law, the city may increase the total amount of its property tax levy by no more than 1% each year unless voters decide to “lift” the 1% cap or “lid” by approving a ballot measure, in this case, City of Snoqualmie Proposition 1, the Public Safety Levy.

The City of Snoqualmie has already implemented many cost-saving measures, such as a 30% reduction in directors through department consolidation, restructuring health care coverage, restructuring debt through lower interest rates, and other actions. These alone have not been able to meet revenue needs for public safety. 

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More Information:
Joan Pliego
Communications Program Manager / PIO
jpliego@ci.snoqualmie.wa.us
425-888-1555 ext. 1125

     
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