How much would you pay if a Fire Benefit Charge is approved? Calculate it here

Unofficial online calculators - presented here - are based on the RFA Committee's 'Formula 3B' being proposed to the cities tomorrow


Spinning off Tumwater’s and Olympia’s fire departments would create a new local government agency with its own taxing authority.

The two city councils are set to meet to consider the newest recommendations of the Olympia Tumwater Fire Authority Planning Committee, tomorrow, Tuesday, October 25, at 5 p.m. over Zoom and in person at Olympia City Hall, 601 4th Avenue East, in Olympia.

Here is the link to attend the meeting.

Along with taxes, the new regional fire authority (RFA), if approved by 60 percent of eligible voters, would likely also add a fire benefit charge (FBC), a fee designed to support the growing costs of delivering fire and emergency medical services.

In terms of revenues to operate fire departments, the summary is:

  • The cities would give up a dollar of property tax for the RFA to charge as a separate line on property tax statements.
  • The RFA would also charge property owners an additional fee, the Fire Benefit Charge.

Citizen Toolbox, created by Olympia resident Larry Dzieza, includes three calculators, available below, that you can use to estimate what your additional costs would be for your house, apartment building or commercial property.

But how large is your house?

The square feet you think you have are not necessarily the same as what the RFA would bill you for in its FBC.

The square footage measurements proposed to be used by the proposed RFA include not only the living area of residences but also garages, outbuildings with foundations, finished attics and basements.

Dzieza created a database of the parcels in Olympia and Tumwater that are in the area of the proposed regional fire authority. The database, organized by address number, is attached to this story as a .PDF file.

Here are the calculators: 

Residential calculator

Apartment calculator

Commercial calculator


4 comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here

  • Plymouth

    Where is the analysis of the problem with the existing fire departments? And once the problems/drawbacks associated with the existing fire departments are identified -- what are the arguments that this Fire Authority is the best solution? It should be the Council's first priority to tell residents of Olympia and Tumwater WHY this Fire Authority is better and what benefits it offers that are missing today.

    There is already a proliferation of districts able to collect property taxes affecting residents of Olympia, under their own authority -- Thurston County - City of Olympia - Port of Olympia - Timberland Regional Library = PUD#1 - Medic One - Olympia School District.

    What is the argument for removing fire protection from the general fund and creating another administrative bureaucracy able independently to assess property taxes?


    Monday, October 24, 2022 Report this

  • C K

    put lipstick on a pig; it's still a pig. Call this "charge" whatever you want BUT it's still a tax. NO MORE TAXES... period. Reduce government, at every level.

    Monday, October 24, 2022 Report this

  • JamesGeluso

    C K wants to reduce government at every level. Don’t just defund the police, defund the fire department!

    Tuesday, October 25, 2022 Report this

  • RileyJ

    I think Plymouth nailed it. I have seen nothing that justifies another bureaucracy that costs money. I think it is a cash grab with no advantage to taxpayers (yes, a tax by any other name is still a tax). The current system seems to work fine. I have three beautiful fire stations within one mile of my house.

    Tuesday, October 25, 2022 Report this