West Pierce Fire & Rescue To Put Replacement Maintenance & Operations Levy on August 1 Ballot
On May 2, 2023, the West Pierce Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners voted to place a ballot measure on the August 1st ballot to replace the existing four-year maintenance and operations levy, which expires at the end of this year. The request is for $16.9 million dollars annually. This amount will be collected each year, starting in 2024 and going through 2027. This is not a new tax, but a replacement of a maintenance and operations levy the community has supported for nearly 50 years. This funding represents approximately 25% of the fire district’s operating budget.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue is a highly urbanized fire department serving a population of over 100,000 people. In 2022, West Pierce had the highest call volume per capita of any fire district in Pierce County, and the demand for service continues to increase. In just the past two years, the department has seen call volume increase an additional 10%. The 2019 ballot measure funded a four-year hiring plan, which helped to effectively manage increasing call volume. This ballot measure will continue to maintain that level of staffing.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue holds a Class 3 rating from the Washington State Survey and Rating Bureau, placing it in the top 10% of all fire departments in the State.
“I am very proud of our efforts to provide the community with exceptional services, utilizing the most cost effective methods possible. This ballot measure is critical in providing the funding needed to continue delivering the high quality services our community has come to expect from West Pierce Fire & Rescue,” Chief Jim Sharp stated.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue operates six fire stations, throughout the communities of University Place and Lakewood, each staffed with advanced life support Firefighter/Paramedics and Emergency Medical Technicians. West Pierce Fire & Rescue provides fire suppression, emergency medical treatment and transport, hazardous materials and technical rescue response, water rescue, fire prevention programs, public education, and CERT training.