City News

Spotlight

Posted on: March 8, 2023

Voters to Decide Annexation to South County Fire

South County Fire crews: Three people in firefighting gear pose in front of a firetruck.

The Mountlake Terrace City Council passed a resolution asking voters to consider annexing to South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue Regional Fire Authority (South County Fire). The purpose of annexation is to protect the level and quality of fire and emergency medical services residents currently receive. 

Mountlake Terrace currently contracts with South County Fire for fire and EMS. This means property owners pay the City for service as part of its general property tax levy. In turn, the City pays the fire authority. Under annexation, property owners would pay South County Fire directly for fire/EMS through their property taxes.

The contract with South County Fire is expiring and cannot be renewed at the same rate. By law, the fire authority must charge the City the same rate as South County Fire property owners pay. This would almost double the contract cost and significantly reduce funding for other City services such as police, parks and recreation, planning, economic development and public works. 

Mountlake Terrace has looked at all options including starting its own fire department or contracting with another provider. South County Fire is the most cost-effective option for taxpayers to maintain the quality and level of fire and EMS residents currently receive.

The City currently spends $1,744,166 of its general fund property tax collection on fire/EMS. If voters approve annexation, the City will reduce its general fund property tax collection by $1,694,166 for 2024. The City Council has chosen to retain the remaining $50,000 to help low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes pay utility bills. The City also would eliminate its EMS levy.

If annexation were in effect today, the owner of a 2,000-square-foot home with an assessed value of $616,743, considered average in Mountlake Terrace, would pay South County Fire approximately $746 annually for 24-hour fire and EMS. With the City’s general property tax reduction and the elimination of the City EMS levy, the net increase would be $395 annually (about $33 a month).

If voters reject annexation, the City would need to consider increasing revenue through its property tax levy, EMS levy or other non-voted tax increases such as utility taxes, fees and special assessments. Additionally, the City may consider cuts to services including police, parks and recreation, planning, transportation and economic development. 

South County Fire is a regional fire authority serving unincorporated southwest Snohomish County and the Cities of Mill Creek and Lynnwood. It also provides fire and emergency medical service to the Cities of Brier, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace under three separate service contracts. Brier and Mountlake Terrace are asking residents to consider annexing to South County Fire on the April Special Election ballot.

The election is on April 25, 2023. More information can be found on the City’s website at www.cityofmlt.com/fireannex.

###

Additional Info...
Facebook Twitter Email

Other News in Spotlight

A graphic of trees and flowers with "Take Our Park Survey."

SURVEY: Help pick our next playground!

Posted on: February 23, 2024

Learn About MLT’s New Tree Code

Posted on: February 14, 2024 | Last Modified on: May 21, 2019
E3 Bleachers Press box Field

Attend Public Forum on Parks Projects

Posted on: February 8, 2024 | Last Modified on: May 21, 2019
A woman hits an assailant in self-defense.

Sign Up for Women’s Self-Defense Class

Posted on: November 2, 2023
Terrace Talk button

Meet Your Local Leaders at Terrace Talk

Posted on: August 15, 2023
A group of people walk in a parade holding a blue banner for National Night Out.

National Night Out set for Aug. 1

Posted on: July 24, 2023
A twilight photo of City Hall with event time, date and place as shared in body text.

Meet City Manager Candidate Finalists

Posted on: February 22, 2023
Save the Date for 2022 Tree Lighting

Save the Date for Dec. 2 Tree Lighting

Posted on: September 19, 2022
Tour de Terrace Parade Map 2022: Shows route along 56th Avenue W, northbound from 234th.

Tour de Terrace Returns July 22-24

Posted on: July 12, 2022
Swim Lesson Group in pool

Vouchers Available for Swim Lessons

Posted on: January 31, 2022
Prepare For Winter

Learn More About Emergency Preparedness

Posted on: November 17, 2021
ARPA Survey button

City Seeks Input on Use of Pandemic Aid

Posted on: December 15, 2021
Recreation Hiring 10-28-2021

New Job Opportunities Posted!

Posted on: October 28, 2021