Benefit Service Charge
Washington statute RCW 52.18 provides that fire districts, with the approval of the voters in their district, are authorized to collect a benefit charge from residential and commercial property owners. Once the benefit charge collection is authorized by the voters, the normal tax collection rate authorized by State Law, drops from $1.50 per thousand to $1.00 per thousand of assessed value.
The Benefit Service Charge (BSC) is not a per-call charge and it is not based on assessed value of property. It is a fee that will apply only to the structural improvements on properties according to the property use and size of structure. There is no charge for undeveloped land. The BSC considers that those who benefit more from the fire protection services (e.g. large structures and structures used in a manner that pose higher fire risk) should pay more for that service.
In November 2019, the voters of King County Fire District 45 authorized the use of the Benefit Service Charge as one of the sources used to finance Fire District operations and services.
The staff of Duvall-King County Fire Protection District 45 (Duvall-KCFD 45) strive to promote community safety and well-being, we dedicate ourselves to the preservation of life and property by providing quality and cost-effective services to the people of our district for fire, medical emergencies, and other disasters.
The Fire Benefit Service Charge (FBSC), is calculated based on the area of buildings and other improvements on property. This calculation more closely approximates the fire risk to property and the service potentially required from Duvall-KCFD45. Since fires in buildings protected by automatic fire sprinklers tend to be contained more quickly, these properties qualify for significant discounts to the FBSC rates.
Unlike taxes, the FBSC is not based on each property’s assessed value. It is based on the total square footage of buildings, garages, barns stables, etc. on the property and the use of the property. In this regard, the owner of a commercial building of like-square footage would pay more than a residential homeowner.
The ability to adjust the FBSC in each annual budget cycle will enable the Board of Fire Commissioners to maintain Duvall-KCFD45’s high standard of service levels. As a result, residents with homes valued near the median home price in the Duvall, Lake Margaret, and Lake Marcel areas should experience very little change in the direct cost of fire and aid services over the course of the next six years. The Board of Fire Commissioners continues to maintain reserve funds for apparatus, equipment replacement purchases and other capital and personnel expenditures, all from the property tax and the FBSC and not through special levies like the Maintenance & Operations Levy (which will not be collected in 2020).
Your Board of Fire Commissioners and District staff have worked diligently to focus our efforts on the programs that matter most to residents by managing our costs and consistently staying within our budget.
All of us at Duvall-KCFD45 appreciate your support of the FBSC and we look forward to continuing providing an outstanding service to our community.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will I get a separate bill for the Benefit Service Charge (BSC)? No. King county will collect the BSC with your regular property taxes. The BSC will appear as a separate line on your tax notification.
Is this a once or twice a year payment? The amount listed on your notification will be split and collected in two payments similar to regular property taxes.
Is this in addition to what I am paying now? When the BSC was passed by voters in November 2019, the District decided to no longer collect the Maintenance and Operation Levy that has been in place since 2012. Also, the amount collected per $1,000 assessed valuation has also been reduced from $1.23 to $1.00.
What is this, I have never seen this before? The BSC was passed by voters in November 2019. The notice you receive will be sent each year that the BSC is collected to advise you of the amount.
The square footage on my notice is incorrect. Square footage is determined by the size of your home, buildings, garages, basement, barns, stables, etc. on the property and the use of the property.
Will I end up paying more? It depends. As described on your notification, the BSC is calculated based on the area of buildings and other improvements on your property. This calculation more closely approximates the fire risk to property and the service potentially required from Duvall-KCFD45.
What is the formula for calculating FBC?
The formula takes into account the total square footage of the structure(s) on the property and
the use of the structure(s). Certain discounts may also apply. It is derived from formulas
developed by the National Fire Academy (NFA) and Insurance Services Office (ISO).
([√ square feet] * 18) * (RF) * (CPG) * (BF) * (senior/low income discount) * (sprinkler discount) = benefit service charge
“Square feet” means total size of the structure(s) in square feet, including garages, carports and outbuildings. 18 is a coefficient value based on empirical tests by NFA and ISO.
RF = residential factor for 2020 is 1.46820427
CPG = cost per gallon for 2020 is 0.2302
BF = balancing factor for 2020 is 1.48169594
Sprinkler discount is 10%
Senior and low income discounts varies
“Use factors” vary by property classification such as residential or commercial. “Use factors” for the various occupancies are:
Mobile home 1.12
- Apartments - Multi Family 4.4
Commercial <= 5000 sq ft 2.5
Commercial <=10,000 sq ft 4.5
Commercial <=25,000 sq ft 6
Commercial <=50,000 sq ft 8
Commercial <= 100,000 sq ft 10
Is there a low-income, senior exemption? Yes. If you already have these exemptions with King County, the same will apply to the BSC and has already been calculated in the amount listed on your notice. If you are unsure of your eligibility, visit the King County tax relief website at https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx
Is the sprinkler system discount included with the rates listed on the notice? It depends. If you have filed an appeals form with us, and the sprinkler discount was approved, the discount is included in the rates shown. King County does not collected this information on its own. If you have not notified us of a system in your home, please submit an appeals form along with documentation describing the system. The discount for having a sprinkler system is 10%.
Will my property tax bill be corrected if my appeal is approved? Yes, any changes in calculation will be submitted to King County and you will receive a revised property tax bill.
Please submit your Appeals Form no later than January 29, 2021
Questions may be sent to BSC@duvallfire45.com or call 425-788-1625
The appeals hearing is scheduled for Wednesday February 10 at 7:00pm. You do not need to attend to have your appeal reviewed. Remote access via video conference will be available.