South County Fire to seek benefit charge renewal in Aug. 6 primary election

Photo courtesy South County Fire

The South County Fire Board of Commissioners Tuesday night unanimously approved a ballot measure for voters to consider a 10-year renewal of a benefit charge to maintain fire and emergency medical services.

The measure will be on the Aug. 6 primary election ballot for regional fire authority voters in Brier, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace and unincorporated southwest Snohomish County.

According to a South County Fire news release announcing the ballot measure, the benefit charge was first approved by voters in 2020 to provide a more fair and balanced way to fund crucial emergency services. Unlike levies based on a property’s assessed value, the benefit charge is based on a building’s size, risks and hazards. Industrial and commercial properties with higher risk pay more than residential properties because it takes fewer firefighters and fire engines to put out a fire in a house than a large commercial structure, the fire authority said.

The benefit charge is set each year by the Board of Fire Commissioners. In 2024, the owner of a 2,000-square-foot home paid a fire benefit charge of $71.64, which amounts to $1.27 total increase over four years.

Seniors, people with disabilities and low-income households maintain any current exemptions they have through the county. There is also a discount for fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

The benefit charge does not apply to the City of Edmonds, which receives emergency services through a contract with South County Fire.

Apply to serve on voters’ pamphlet pro and con committees

South County Fire is seeking people interested in serving on the voters’ pamphlet pro and con committee. Each committee will have a maximum of three members who will be appointed by the Board of Fire Commissioners to provide statements in favor or opposition to the benefit charge ballot measure to appear in the voters’ pamphlet.

To apply, submit a brief statement of interest by mail or email to Board Executive Assistant Melissa Blankenship, South County Fire, 12425 Meridian Ave. S, Everett WA 98208 or All applications must be received by South County Fire no later than noon on April 16, 2024. Applicants should indicate whether they are interested in the pro or con committee.

Learn more about the benefit charge on the South County Fire website,

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