Fire Benefit Charge Renewal

On August 6, 2024, voters within the Valley Regional Fire Authority’s service area will be asked to consider Proposition No. 1 on their primary election ballot. During the VRFA Board of Governance (BOG) meeting on April 9, 2024, the BOG unanimously authorized placing Proposition No. 1 on the ballot with the intention of continuing the use of a voter-approved fire benefit charge (FBC) each year for the next ten years.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FBC is a fee reflecting a direct and proportional assessment of the cost of providing appropriate fire protection services to a particular building. The FBC is calculated based on occupancy type and square footage of structures. Revenue derived from the FBC is restricted by state law not to exceed 60 percent of the VRFA operating budget. By approving the FBC, state law prohibits imposing an additional property tax of fifty (50) cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value for fire protection services otherwise allowed by law. Since 2008, the FBC has supported between 37-48 percent of the VRFA operating budget.

In the General Election held in November 2023, the voters approved a bond worth $96.5 million. This funding can only be used to construct new fire stations and support facilities. FBC funds are utilized for the fire authority’s ongoing expenses, such as personnel, training, and equipment costs.

Voter approval of the FBC for another ten years will allow the VRFA to maintain response times and service levels for fire protection, emergency medical aid calls, personnel training, and the purchase of necessary equipment.

Voters approved the FBC funding source for use by the VRFA in the November 2006 General Election. Nearly 70 percent of the voters approved the formation of the VRFA and the use of the FBC and the associated property tax of $1.00/$1,000 of assessed value, to fund the first Fire Authority in the state. The voters renewed the use of the FBC in 2012 and in 2018.

Recent amendments to RCW 52.26.220 now permit regional fire protection agencies to request voters to approve the use of the Fire Benefit Charge (FBC) permanently or continuously for six or ten years. The ten-year approval allows voters to maintain their influence on the fire authority’s direction while reducing the expenses associated with holding elections every six years.

If Proposition No. 1 is not approved, the VRFA could impose an additional property tax of fifty (50) cents per thousand dollars of assessed property value for fire protection services under RCW 52.26. With this change, it is likely that there will not be enough revenue to maintain all current services.

Information on Proposition No. 1 is available on our website at, by email at, or by calling us at 253.288.5800. You can also follow us on social media for updates.