About 130 Silverdale homes must make up for unpaid EMS and Fire taxes or risk being billed for emergency services by the hour.
The residents live in one of five pockets in the Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue District that were never incorporated, which have allowed them to not pay Fire & EMS taxes that other property owners pay for almost 40 years.
“I had no idea. I’m from the city of Tacoma, everything is there for you all the time, so you don’t think about this,” said Sheila Jobst, who received one of the letters.
Based off her property value, Jobst learned she must pay $700 for emergency services.
“They won’t come unless we pay,” said Jobst.
According to fire officials, the decision is up to homeowners.
“They can either sign a covenant that would be attached to their property such as a lien and from this day forward they’ll pay what would be equivalent to those taxes or they could chose to refuse that covenant and they’d be billed on a by response basis,” said Ileana LiMarzi, a spokesperson.
If a homeowner chooses not to sign a covenant, prices for a medical response start at $350 an hour and they may up to $18,000 out of pocket for a three alarm fire at their house.
“I think I look at it more as paying our fair share,” said Ann Pebbles, a homeowner.
Pebbles sent a check for $1,300. She's one of three homeowners that have agreed to pay.
“It makes sense,” she said.
The covenants are estimated to add $130,000 to the fire district's general fund.
Paying the tax will take sacrifice, but given the risk, Jobst says it may be the responsible thing to do.
To fix the issue, the plan is to eventually make the homes in " no man's land" legally part of the fire district, but that will require a vote.