Questions about the Fire Benefit Charge

If you have additional questions, please contact Eastside Fire & Rescue at 425-313-3246

The FBC is a fee based on a property’s inherent fire risk. The FBC is not a tax, it is a calculation based on how the property is used and the size of structures in terms of square feet.

The Fire Benefit Charge (FBC) is up for a vote on April 23, 2019 as part of a Special Election. Voter approval is once again required in order to retain this revenue source.

Renewal of the FBC for another six years (2020 through 2025) will allow Woodinville Fire & Rescue to maintain response times and service levels, train personnel and purchase equipment. The FBC accounts for approximately 44 percent of Woodinville Fire & Rescue’s budget.

It was first approved by voters for six years in 1989, and subsequently has been renewed by voters at approximately six-year intervals, most recently in 2013.

This is not a bill; do not send us money. This charge will be included with your property tax assessment and paid when you pay your property taxes.

The FBC includes all structural square footage, which is comprised of all usable and livable space of your house. This includes the square footage of basements, sheds, and both attached and detached garages.

If you believe your square footage is incorrect, you should first visit the King County Parcel Viewer to look at your property to see what is listed. Remember, all usable space and all buildings are included. If you still feel the square footage is incorrect, you may get an appeal form by contacting Woodinville Fire & Rescue at 425-483-2131 or download it here.

King County provides the District with an estimated Assessed Valuation for all the properties in the District and the allowable levy rate. The allowable levy rate is the 1% increase over the previous year’s levy. Although assessed values of properties in the District rose by almost 11%, we do not benefit from the increase via property tax due to the 1% limit.

Over time, our levy rate has decreased from $1.00 to $0.78997 in 2019. With the levy rate, we are able to calculate the allowable property tax levy. Knowing the amount of revenue required to run the fire department, we can then determine the remaining revenue needed from the benefit charge. In 2019, this amounted to an overall collection rate of $1.40 ($1.40 – $0.7899 (property tax levy) = $0.61003 (benefit charge).

The senior discount is based on income thresholds, not all seniors qualify. If you are eligible for the senior discount on your property taxes, it will automatically be applied to your FBC. Senior discounts are administered by the King County Assessor’s Office. You may contact them to determine your eligibility.

Yes. In King County, the following fire departments are using a Fire Benefit Charge to fund department operations: Northshore, Woodinville, King County Fire District 10 (around Issaquah), Snoqualmie Pass, Kent Regional Fire Authority, King County Fire District 40 (east of Renton), North Highline, and Valley Regional Fire Authority (Auburn area).

Yes. You may submit your appeal form and documentation by email to info@esf-r.org. Appeals for fire protection sprinkler discounts require supporting documentation, including photos. When you submit an appeal, you are not required to attend the hearing. After the hearing, you will receive a letter to let you know the decision of the Board of Fire Commissioners.