How much money will the ballot measure raise?
The proposed levy lid lift will raise about $2.4 million per year. This is a fixed amount that will not increase when property values increase. Like all property taxes, the total amount is subject to an annual increase of 1%, which is less than inflation.
What will the money raised be spent on?
The money raised will be dedicated to adding:
- 8 firefighter/medics and an additional response unit 24/7. This will help ensure that a unit is always available to respond to emergency medical and fire calls.
- 8 police officers, sufficient to change the shift structure to have better coverage during high-call-volume times of day.
How much will the ballot measure cost?
The proposed levy amount will cost a $400,000 home in Bremerton about $13.50 per month.
Why hasn’t the City added firefighter/medics and police officers from my increased property taxes?After accounting for inflation, city property tax revenue, including revenue from new construction, has actually decreased over the past ten years. The City has not raised taxes at an amount greater than 1% (which is less than average inflation). While your property taxes have gone up, most of that increase went to fund schools (set and managed by the school district and State Legislature, not the City). The City gets only about 13% of your total property tax payment.
Why hasn’t the City added firefighter/medics and police officers from impact fee revenue?
Impact fees are collected on new construction to help ensure new development pays for itself. By state law, impact fees are only allowed for fire, streets, parks, and schools (i.e., not police). Impact fee revenue must be spent on capital facilities, not staffing, and cannot be spent to cure existing deficiencies.
Why will the money go into the general fund?
The police and fire departments are both general fund departments. The amount of the levy lid lift has been calculated to cover the total cost of compensation and annualized equipment for 8 firefighter/medics and 8 police patrol officers.
Why not prioritize public safety over parks, the library, and other general fund departments?
The City prioritizes public safety. But funding the needed increase in public safety staffing from existing revenue would require cutting the parks budget, or the library and museum budgets, to zero. Bremerton residents have repeatedly demonstrated their commitment and desire to continue to fund these services. The City has made substantial investments in public safety in the last several years, but adding permanent staff requires permanent sources of revenue.