Northwest NEWS

February 26, 2001

Editorial

Taxpayers will be the ones to pay

I, David Callon, resigned my position as fire commissioner effective Dec. 19, 2000, because I am moving out of the state of Washington. It has been an honor to serve the taxpayers as a Fire Commissioner and I am proud of the quality of our fire services and the dedication of our fire fighters.
   However, I can no longer afford the increasing property taxes and levies in King County and Woodinville. Last year alone our fire district raised your taxes by 23 percent and now the budget for 2001 has an increase of 8 percent more, and it's just one of the governmental units that adds to your total tax bill. I have been taxed out of Woodinville and out of my home.
   I am disappointed that the board does not spend taxpayer dollars more wisely. When the fire district is spending $6 million to move a fire station one mile, when they are spending hundreds of dollars sending fire fighters to classes to learn to ride a bike for the bike team and when they have both cable TV and satellite TV in the same fire station, they are wasting taxpayer's money.
   When the other commissioners voted to ignore the spending limitations of voter-approved Initiative 722, I said enough is enough.
   As an elected fire commissioner, I voted against all the increases, but I was out-voted 4 to 1. They even declared substantial need (required by Referendum 47) so they could raise $500,000 to put into a reserve account (it was a little low after the $6 million dollar station). I just can't afford Woodinville or King County anymore.
   Now a budget of over $8 million that has grown from just $3.2 million a few years ago. The increased tax revenue from our booming local economy has allowed the board to ignore making the tough decisions needed to control spending.
   That failure will come home to roost when the economy slows or the district outruns its taxing authority - or both. When that happens, the taxpayers will be the ones to pay.
   Again, I would like to thank the residents of the fire district that supported me during my term. It has been an honor to serve you.
   David Callon, former Woodinville Fire Commissioner