Please vote NO on Olympia/Tumwater Proposition 1


Regional Fire Authority - Prop 1

Please vote NO on Olympia/Tumwater Proposition 1 in April.

Biggest tax increase in the history of either Olympia or Tumwater.

No new firefighters, fire engines, aid cars, or fire stations funded in the 7-year "Strategic Plan" for the RFA.

Charges the smallest homes at a higher rate than the largest homes.

Most voters do not follow the smaller agencies, like the Port or PUD, and the RFA will be in the same boat.

Nearly all of the $10.5 million initial Fire Benefit Charge goes for duplicative administrative expenses and for pay raises for existing highly-paid employees.

The "Pro" campaign has financial support the firefighter unions (RFA’s huge salary increases). Prop 1 is supported by the city councils because they want to free up revenue by shifting the cost of the fire departments to a new taxing authority.

We have excellent fire departments, accountable to voters through the City Councils we elect. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

~ Mark Mahaffey, Olympia

The opinions above are, of course, those of the writer and not of The JOLT. Got something you want to get off your chest? Post your comment below, or write it up and send it to us. We'll likely run it the same day we get it. 


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  • JulesJames

    Polite and accurate. Thank you. For me, through this whole process, the numbers to “justify” the RFA have been utter nonsense, wholecloth concoctions wildly changed when challenged. The worst was when all the calculations were re-calculated because the proponents suddenly uncovered a massive volume of previously-uncounted commercial space. But the bottom line: fire is a core municipal service. If either Tumwater or Olympia can’t handle the job, unincorporate. The county will take over.

    Thursday, March 23, 2023 Report this

  • jimlazar

    This writer has it right. The RFA offers no improvement in service, and big increases in cost.

    If approved, the INITIAL "fire benefit charge" would be $10.5 million per year, about $400 for my house. BUT, once the voters approve it, the RFA Board can increase that to more than $40 million without another vote. That's right -- $1,600 for my house.

    The 7-year "strategic plan" for the RFA does not hire a single new firefighter, but a single additional fire engine, or build a new fire station.

    Our neighbors in Littlerock and Rochester tried this. After 6 years, the "renewal" was not approved, and they immediately closed a couple of active fire stations. Let's not put our Olympia and Tumwater fire departments at that kind of risk.

    Big new fees. No new service. Vote NO.

    Friday, March 24, 2023 Report this

  • JohnGear

    I would like to suggest that every voter considering the RFA proposal watch this very short, very well done video from a terrific Minnesota-based nonprofit called "Strong Towns." This video is a very well done explanation of the "Growth Ponzi Scheme" and contains a super-concise summary of the cause at the root of most of the fiscal problems that the entire S. Sound area faces: "near rural densities with urban amenities." It's simply unsustainable.

    I haven't reached a definite conclusion about the RFA, but the more I look and the more I read, the more questions I have. Some RFA advocates insist we are in a "crisis" of fire funding, but neither city leadership is saying that.

    And if we are in a crisis of funding for fire services, isn't it irresponsible for city leaders to propose simply spinning off a key municipal service to a whole new special purpose government without explaining how THAT government won't wind up back in a crisis, given that nothing is changing except adding a layer of administrative overhead and the costs of new elections etc.? And if both Olympia and Tumwater councils are saying they need more money for fire, why not simply ask the voters for more money for fire?

    Friday, March 24, 2023 Report this

  • KBWarrior

    How did the writer come to the conclusion that the "Firefighter Unions" support this measure because of "Huge Salary Increases"?

    I saw in the League of Women Voters forum that the opposition claimed they haven't publicly used this as an argument, but it certainly appears their misleading information about "huge" firefighter "salary increases" is working to sway voters away from what these two fire departments truly need.

    Friday, April 7, 2023 Report this