JZ Knight has been very impressed with the responsive, proficient and courteous manner of Southeast Thurston Fire/EMS personnel whenever their services are required at Ramtha’s School of Enlightenment or Ms. Knight’s home and she committed $10,000 each month from October to December, 2009 as a way to acknowledge their work.
Southeast Thurston Fire/EMS has reported a budget reduction this year of $180,000 due to tax receipts tied to dropping property assessments in the current economic environment. Knight is very aware of the difficult challenges facing the local Fire Commissioners & the Fire Chief to maintain services and existing response times the public expects and demands in emergency situations. In response, Knight has pledged $100,000 in 2010 to Southeast Thurston Fire/EMS for their general operational fund or to where the greatest community benefit would be derived.
Knight is an advocate for the Fire Consolidation issue to be on the ballot in February, 2010 – a proposal to consolidate the City of Yelm and two neighboring fire districts into the Southeast Thurston Regional Fire Authority. Under the authority, property owners in all three districts would pay the same tax rate for fire and basic emergency medical response at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The result would entail higher taxes for city residents, yet would not change the rate for those living in the rural fire districts. The City of Yelm’s contract for fire and emergency medical response will expire at the end of 2010. With the consolidation under a Regional Fire Authority, neighboring fire districts will be able to eliminate duplicative administrative positions, allowing them to place additional resources towards front-line response. Additionally, for the first time, residents in the City of Yelm will be able to vote for Fire Commissioners and fire issues.
This is also a gift from Knight to the greater Yelm Community.