What is a Levy?
A local option levy is a property tax levy that cannot exceed a five year period and is used to provide staffing and sometimes capital expenses that relates to that staffing of personnel.
Fire districts have a permanent tax rate that is assessed to property owners within the respective fire district. ABC Fire District may have a $1.21 permanent tax rate for assessed value of a citizens property per $1,000 of value. If a property is assessed at $400,000 the tax rate would be $484 per year for fire protection services. A levy may come up for vote to the tax payers asking for $.22 per $1,000 for personnel to supplement increase in service delivery and emergency calls. The additional cost to that same home would be $88 annually. This type of staffing would assist with up-staffing apparatus with more personnel to provide a higher level of service or increase staffing for more apparatus to respond. Other items that can be rolled into a levy would consist of capital expenditures for those personnel. This could include uniforms, turnouts or other PPE, Self Contained Breathing Apparatus, radios, etc… Check with your local fire protection agency for more information on levies in your area.
What is a Bond?
Much like levies, Bonds are voted on by the citizens of their respective Fire Protection areas. Unlike levies, bonds are based on capital projects and equipment, not personnel. For example, a Fire District may place a bond option on the ballot for $.24 per $1,000 of assessed value for fire engines, station improvements and self contained breathing apparatus upgrades. The time frame on bonds varies and depends on multiple factors. Check your local fire protection agency for more information on bonds in your area.