Politics & Government

2 fire levies failing, 2 passing in Pierce County

Levies in two of East Pierce County’s largest fire districts appeared to be failing Wednesday as more votes trickled in from Tuesday’s election.

Those served by East Pierce Fire & Rescue were voting down a fire and emergency services levy that would bring in $19.2 million in the next four years.

The East Pierce levy aimed to replace an expiring maintenance and operations levy, as well as pay for 12 additional firefighters. The fire district serves about 85,000 people in and around Bonney Lake, Sumner, Edgewood, Milton, South Prairie and Lake Tapps.

Meanwhile, those in Graham Fire & Rescue’s service area were narrowly voting down a property tax increase that would bring in $11 million in a four-year period. Graham Fire & Rescue serves 61,000 people in unincorporated parts of East Pierce County.

As of Wednesday, both the Graham and East Pierce levies were receiving more than 50 percent approval from voters, but weren’t meeting the 60 percent threshold required to pass.

Elsewhere, levies in two smaller service areas were passing easily. Voters in Fircrest were approving the renewal of a six-year emergency medical services levy, as were those served by Riverside Fire & Rescue, a fire district located between Tacoma and Puyallup.

Tony Cooper, chief of Riverside Fire & Rescue, said he was pleased that voters were supporting the fire district’s levy renewal, which he said was simply extending an existing tax.

“This will give us the ability to maintain our operations for six more years,” Cooper said.