Time 4 Station 4

HomeFire • Station 4

Time 4 Station 4

1 - Why Station 4 is Vital

  • The need to maintain our level of service as our City continues to grow.
  • To respond to the increase in the call volume for our Fire Department.
  • To address the increase of our wildland-urban interface along our foothills.

2 - Location

Layton City Station 4 is planned to be located near 1400 North Valley View Drive. This will be Layton City’s fourth station. Thanks to our City’s planning and anticipation of this need, it will be built on vacant land that the City of Layton previously acquired.

Several years ago, Layton City identified an area of the City that experiences the longest response time from current station locations. The area was identified as the north/south stretch along the Highway 89 corridor from Sunset Drive to the Kaysville border, and west into the subdivisions above Emerald Drive. And of additional concern are those subdivisions east of Highway 89 in our wildland-urban interface areas. While this vicinity does not represent the highest call volume area in the City, it does represent the portion of the City with a higher fire loss potential and the longest response times for emergency medical services (EMS).

As many of the calls are centered in and around the most populated areas, the Fire Department experiences a longer response time to the easternmost portion of the City. The average citywide "emergent" response time for both Fire and EMS is just over six minutes, while the average "non-urgent" response time is just over seven and a half minutes. The 2018 response times to the identified area were just under nine minutes, a significant increase from our average response time in the City. Construction of Station 4 would decrease response times in this area to a 4-6 minute average, reducing average citywide response times as well.

After identifying this as an area most at risk, the City began researching potential sites to locate a new fire station. Included in this decision were the changes to Highway 89, transforming it into a limited access roadway, and what impact that would have on our Fire and EMS responses in this area.

In providing Fire & EMS services, minutes can reduce fire growth and spread in both residential and wildland emergencies, and can mean the difference in life-and-death medical emergencies. Station 4 provides the Fire Department expedited response to our most at-risk portion of the City and provides additional emergency services to respond elsewhere in the City during peak 911 request times.

3 - Proposed Tax Increase for the Station

The proposed tax increase of 25% is tied to the construction of the station and initial staffing, which equates to an additional $60.70 per year for a home valued at $310,000. Due to the City’s financial practices, a tax increase for the total amount of construction and personnel is not needed. In planning for this growth, the City has been adding to a savings fund for this station. That fund has a current balance of $2.5 million. The revenue from this proposed tax increase will provide the total amount needed to build and provide for the initial ongoing costs for the personnel for this station. Again, because of the City’s anticipation of this station, the underlying property is already owned by the City, resulting in a significant savings.

The City will be providing opportunities for you to receive additional information, ask questions, and give input. There will be an Open House on July 31 from 6 to 8 p.m., and a public hearing on August 8 at 7 p.m. at the City Center. The decision on whether to implement the tax will be made at the City Council meeting on August 15.

4 - Why is a Tax Increase Necessary?

The City has not had a tax increase since the introduction of the “Truth in Taxation” process, which occurred in 1987. At that time the City’s population was 13,603, there was one fire station, and property taxes made up 26% of the City’s revenue. Currently property taxes are 21% of the City’s revenue.

While the City has been placing money into a savings account to pay for Station 4, that balance is currently $2.5 million. The costs of construction for the station is estimated to be $3.7 million, with additional funding needed for the ongoing personnel costs. The demand is now, and the City has determined that we cannot wait for that account to be fully funded before construction can begin. And again, the City already owns the property, therefore the proposed tax increase is directly focused on completing the last hurdle of a lengthy, well-planned and executed process for the expansion of these critical services – proper response times for fire and medical emergencies, and protection along the wildland-urban interface.

LEVEL OF SERVICE

  • Population levels at the time fire stations were built:
      1st Station 2nd Station 3rd Station Station 4
    Year Built 1970 1994 1998 2020
    Population 13,603 49,494 57,000 78,000
    City Revenue $7,146,035 $13,347,725 $14,062,496 $32,730,845
    City Property Tax Revenue $1,852,893 $2,904,728 $3,729,781 $6,943,445
    Percentage of Revenue 25.93% 21.76% 26.52% 21.21%
    Property Tax Rate 0.2947% 0.2818% 0.2176% 0.1424%

CALL VOLUME

  • In 1981, Layton City began a full-time service Fire Department and responded to less than 1,000 incidents. By 1994, Layton City began providing ambulance transport services, and response to incidents increased to 1,829 and by 1998 to 2,425. In 2001, paramedic rescue service was added. The 2018 call volume was 6,411 incidents and it is fully expected that by the end of 2019 there will be more than 7,000 emergency response incidents. As the City continues to add new citizens and businesses, and as the number of those traveling through our City continues to grow, we are confident that 911 requests will outpace the current 4-5% increase rate the Fire Department is now experiencing, affecting our ability to continue meeting the desired service level and response time.

WILDLAND-URBAN INTERFACE

  • The wildland urban interface (WUI) is considered the commercial and residential development next to forest service property – where the City meets the mountains. For Layton City, our latest estimate of homes in the WUI is approximately 4,800 with a population of over 19,000.

Funding Options

While the majority of the more prominent issues raised at the public hearing on August 8 were addressed in the FAQ section of the City’s website, several questions were asked about alternative funding options for the station and its ongoing operations.

The City has and will continue to explore all reasonable and responsible funding options. The information below is a brief response to some of the funding options that were most consistently suggested at the hearing.

Impact Fees

Layton City has been at the forefront of this funding mechanism. The City has in place each impact fee allowable under state law. These are reviewed on a rotating basis, as each one requires an independent study and calculation within the complicated formula required by the Legislature. The City does not have the ability to simply raise this fee because it needs more money. Our current public safety impact fee revenue are being utilized to the construction of the proposed station at the maximum level allowed by state law. Please note, impact fees cannot be the sole source of finance for a new station – the state law prohibits that, as the formula assumes that existing residents will receive some benefit from a new station. And again, the City can only hold on to impact fees for a six year period. Each year the City waits to build, the six year old funds become at risk of having to be returned to the developer if the City is not ready to use them.

The Reserve Fund

This is basically the City’s emergency fund. State law requires a City to keep an amount equal to between 5% and 25% of the City’s annual budget in this reserve fund. The City has, after studying several financial principles and options, determined that approximately 15% is a responsible amount to keep in reserve. If this fund is used for an ongoing expense, and there is no revenue source to replenish the emergency fund, then the City would find itself in the very difficult circumstance of having a diminished emergency fund, and no revenue for an ongoing need. That is without considering the occurrence of another economic downturn similar to 2008/2009. At that time those funds were used until the economy turned around. Currently the economic indicators are in a flux, even more of a reason to maintain the reserve fund where it is.

FEMA Grants

The City has continually paid attention to grant offerings, and is currently utilizing many of those, which alleviate some stress on other revenue sources. FEMA grants have been used to retrofit the original fire station on Fort Lane to meet seismic standards, to obtain equipment, etc. Grant funding for constructing stations is limited and because of Layton’s financial strength, the City does not qualify for any of those grants.

Donations

Insurance companies do not donate for the construction of fire stations. How insurance companies, and those they insure, benefit from the fire service is based on what is called an “ISO” (Insurance Service Office) rating. Upon ISO’s review, ISO will provide a ranking for the fire department. Insurance companies then base the fire insurance portion of their premiums on the ranking of the fire department which services their insured’s home. The lower the ranking the lower the premium. Layton currently enjoys a ranking of 2. There is only one, 1 in the state, and that is Salt Lake City. There are only a few 2’s in the state. Layton desires to at least retain that ranking to ensure our citizens’ insurance premiums are as competitive as possible. Please note, not all insurance companies rely on this ranking. This may be a good time for citizens to review that coverage and see if there are better options available.

Bonding

This is simply going in to debt, which isn’t always a negative, but must be done with serious consideration. The relatively small amount needed for the station, $1.7 Million, would not generate enough interest to be received favorably in the bond market. Using bond funds for ongoing expenses is not a sound fiscal practice. It would be like taking out a second mortgage on one’s home in order to pay ongoing utility and maintenance cost.

Why 25%?

After several years of evaluating the need for the station, the monies saved for the station, the existing equipment allocation, the increase in call volume, the steps taken in furtherance of the planning for this station, and then upon reviewing the financial information and funding sources available, along with projected costs, the City determined a tax increase was necessary. The City was next required to set a percentage to start the Truth in Taxation process. In other words, in order to simply begin the process, a percentage needed to be set. While the City set an informed and supported target percentage, based on economic and financial information, the City knew that percentage would be subject to additional reviews and hearings. The City was aware that it had to set a percentage that could not be increased at the conclusion of the review process. As the review and hearing process continues, the amount of the tax increase has been and continues to be subject to refinement and revision.

Property Tax – How Much Does Layton City Collect?

In the next few weeks, Davis County will be sending out Annual Property Tax Notices for 2019. Questions to be asked are how much of the property tax paid by property owners actually goes to Layton City versus other government entities; and what is the result of the proposed tax increase.

Where Does the Rate Come From?

Property tax rates are certified based on the County Assessor’s annual analysis of property values within the City. This rate is certified to ensure property tax revenue generated from existing homes doesn’t increase from the prior year simply because property values increased. (This is assuming there is no property tax increase.) In fact, if homeowners would compare their tax notices over the past several years, they would see Layton City’s rate has actually decreased.

How is the Rate Applied?

The certified tax rate is then applied to each property’s Fair Market Value (FMV) as determined by the County Assessor. For primary residences, property owners are assessed the tax based on 55% of the FMV. Commercial property owners are taxed at the same tax rate, but at 100% of their property’s FMV.

How is a Rate Increase Applied?

When an entity proposes a tax increase, the increase is not a percentage of a property owner’s total property tax, but is only an increase in the portion of the tax for that specific entity.

What is Each Entities’ Share?

The annual property tax bill Layton residents and businesses receive from Davis County this year includes amounts collected for the following entities, shown with their proposed Tax Rates:

Davis School District (.007808), Davis County (.001962), Layton City (.001780), North Davis Sewer District (.000800), Davis County Library (.000329), Weber Basin Water (.000153), and Davis County Mosquito Abatement (.000112).

Here's an Example:

Let’s consider a home assessed to be worth $310,000 this year. Currently, the total tax collected would be $2,092.38, which is the sum of the tax rates times 55% of $310,000. Layton City would receive $242.79 (11.60%) of that homeowner’s total $2,092.38 property tax bill.

The Davis School District’s share of the proposed assessment would be $1,331.26 (60.32%); Davis County would receive $334.52 (15.16%); North Davis Sewer District $136.40 (6.18%); Davis County Library $56.09 (2.54%); Weber Basin Water $26.09 (1.18%); and Davis County Mosquito Abatement $19.10 (0.87%). (Please see the table in the following tab.)

Business owners pay the same property tax rate, but on 100% of the FMV. So, a business in Layton, valued at $310,000, would be paying a total of $4,012.64 this year in property taxes. Of that amount, Layton City would receive $551.80, or 13.75 percent of the total property tax assessment for 2019.

With the proposed tax increase, the owner of a home valued at $310,000 would pay an additional $60.70 a year. These funds would provide the final $1.2 million to build Station 4, and the initial personnel and operation costs, which will be ongoing. As the City has planned, budgeted and saved $2.5 million, already acquired the property and the equipment, the proposal does not exceed the need.

Property Tax Revenue Analysis Tax Year 2019

Certified Rates

    Primary Residence     Commercial Property  
  Fair Market Value $310,000     $310,000  
  Taxable Value $170,500     $310,000  
 
Davis School District 0.007492 $1,277.39 61.05%   $2,322.52 61.05%
Davis County 0.001962 $334.52 15.99%   $608.22 15.99%
Layton City 0.001424 $242.79 11.60%   $441.44 11.60%
North Davis Sewer District 0.000800 $136.40 6.52%   $248.00 6.52%
Davis County Library 0.000329 $56.09 2.68%   $101.99 2.68%
Weber Basin Water 0.000153 $26.09 1.25%   $47.43 1.25%
Davis County Mosquito Abatement 0.000112 $19.10 0.91%   $34.72 0.91%
  0.012272 $2,092.38 100%   $3,804.32 100%

Proposed Rates

    Primary Residence     Commercial Property  
  Fair Market Value $310,000     $310,000  
  Taxable Value $170,500     $310,000  
 
Davis School District 0.007808 $1,331.26 60.32%   $2,420.48 60.32%
Davis County 0.001962 $334.52 15.16%   $608.22 15.16%
Layton City 0.001780 $303.49 13.75%   $551.80 13.75%
North Davis Sewer District 0.000800 $136.40 6.18%   $248.00 6.18%
Davis County Library 0.000329 $56.09 2.54%   $101.99 2.54%
Weber Basin Water 0.000153 $26.09 1.18%   $47.43 1.18%
Davis County Mosquito Abatement 0.000112 $19.10 0.87%   $34.72 0.87%
  0.012944 $2,206.95 100%   $4,012.64 100%

What is Property Tax? (Dollars and Sense)


What is Sales Tax? (Dollars and Sense)


What is an Impact Fee? (Dollars and Sense)

FAQs

Station 4

Why do we need another fire station?
  1. Public safety. Public safety is Layton City’s first priority. Since the last station was built in 1998, the City’s population has increased by 21,000 residents. The call volume to emergency personnel has also increased. There were 6,411 incidents in 2018, and it’s estimated that that number will top 7,000 in 2019. This is a 189 percent increase since 1998.
  2. Response time. The area that will be served by the new fire station experiences the longest response time from the current fire stations. In 2018, the average total response time was nine minutes for the identified area. With the new fire station, response time will decrease by three to five minutes to about four to six minutes average total response time. In an emergency, minutes can save lives.
  3. Wildland-urban interface. In the foothills area, fires burn quickly, especially during the hot summer months. As fires increase, this puts east side residents at risk. A fire station located nearby means crews can reach the fires sooner so they can be contained more quickly. This can not only protect lives and save homes, but can also reduce the negative environmental impact from fire.
How much will this fire station cost?

The current cost is estimated at $3.7 million. The City has been budgeting for this, and has saved $2.5 million. The revenue from the propsed increase will provide the final amount needed for the station, along with the initial operating costs, which includes personnel. The land on which the station will be built is already owned by the City. There will not be any additional equipment costs.

What Has the City Done to Minimize the Costs For the Station?

Below is a comparison between the costs of purchasing property, constructing the station, and the first year of operation for what a comparable fire station would have been, and what it will be due to the City’s planning:

Expenses for Construction and First Year Operation if Starting Today: Costs of Construction and First Year Operation with Planning Ahead:
$1,700,000Purchase of Land$0*
3,700,000Building Construction1,200,000**
950,000Acquire ambulance, fire engine, brush truck, and equipment0***
1,100,000Personnel and equipment1,100,000
30,560Utilities/Fuel/Maintenance30,560
$7,480,560Total$2,330,560

By exercising a sound fiscal policy and by anticipating needs, the City has reduced the costs of this project by over $5,000,000.

*The City acquired the underlying property through an exchange for property it has owned for several years.
**The City has been budgeting for this station, and has saved $2,500,000 for its construction.
*** And in anticipation of growth, the City has acquired, maintained and refurbished firefighting and paramedic equipment for this station.

If I don’t live near the new fire station, how will it benefit me?

A reduced response time will benefit the entire City by increasing the availability of resources. If multiple emergencies occur at once, or if there is a large-scale emergency in any part of the city, the new station can provide additional resources to other areas.

What will the new station look like? Where will it be located?

The new station will be located near 1400 North Valley View Drive. The City is currently reviewing plans. View laytoncity.org/Station4 for more details.

How much does the City propose raising taxes? How will this affect my household?

The tax rate would change from 0.001424 to 0.001780. While that is a twenty-five percent (25%) increase, the actual result is an increase of $5.06 per month on a $310,000 home, or $60.70 annually.

Isn’t there another way to raise the money besides taxes?

The City considered a bond to raise funds; however, issuing a bond would only cover the one-time cost of building the station and doesn’t cover the ongoing costs of personnel and operations. With the tax increase added to the money the City has already set aside in previous years, the increase in funds will ensure the City can afford to build the new station and keep it operating in the future.

With the cost of housing and construction rising so dramatically, why do you have to build the new station now?

As people move to Davis County from neighboring areas, more emergency services are required to accommodate the increasing population. The costs of these services are rising higher than the rate of inflation. Public safety is our #1 priority. Our goal is to reach an average total response time of less than five minutes. In order to reach that goal, another fire station is necessary. The area's growth and increased call volume reflect that the need is now.

Some of Layton City’s utility costs are higher than in some other cities. Are these increased costs really justified considering how much we’re already paying for utilities, etc.?

Compared to other cities, the cost of utilities in Layton City is lower than average. Across the state, the average monthly utility rate for water, sewer, storm, and garbage is $96.72. Layton City’s average monthly cost for the same utilities is $87.39.

Why is Layton raising taxes this year? Are other cities doing the same?

Neighboring cities that have raised taxes recently include Bountiful in 2018, Kaysville in 2014, Syracuse in 2017 and 2018, and Ogden every year since 2016. In addition to the Davis School District, Kaysville, South Weber, Syracuse, and West Point are all considering a tax rate increase this year.

And, for the past two years, Layton City’s tax rate has actually decreased. Layton City adopted the certified tax rate established by Davis County and the Utah State Tax Commission in 1987, and although Layton City’s population has approximately doubled since that time, the City hasn’t raised taxes since then.

My street is in serious need of repair. Why is the fire station a priority right now when I’d rather see the City spend money to fix other infrastructure problems or traffic issues? And are you ever going to address those?

We recognize there are other projects that are important to our residents. We have plans to address many issues in the future; however, based on demand public safety is our highest priority. For right now, we’d like to keep the tax increase as low as possible. If you have concerns about other issues, we encourage you to attend City Council meetings or to contact Layton City.

Last year, the City’s tax rate decreased. And now you’re raising them? Was it just a political ploy so you could hit us with an increase this year?

The back-to-back decreases and then the proposed increase should demonstrate the City’s fiscal practices of receiving only what it needs. The City keeps taxes as low as practical to ease taxpayers’ burdens and then only proposes an increase when necessary. As the need for another fire station became clear, the City proposed raising taxes to address that need.

My taxes keeping going up as my home’s value increases. Aren’t increasing home values enough to support a new fire station?

While property taxes generally increase when the value of the home/property increase, that is not so with the City's portion of the property tax. The City is only allowed to budget the same amount of property tax revenue as the year before (with exceptions for new construction). Although other entities may raise the amount they receive through tax revenue, the City has not done so before, and if it does, it must notify the public and hold public hearings, as it has done here.

Why Not Bond for the New Station?

While bonding is a common method for funding projects, it is best used for construction projects, and, as in this instance would take care of the one-time costs to build the station. However, the bonding would not take care of the on-going costs of the personnel needed for the station, and it would not take care of the continuing maintenance and operation of the building. Using bonding only would be like borrowing to build or buy a new home and not budgeting for the maintenance, electrical, natural gas, water, sewer, insurance premiums, etc.

Again, while bonding for the new station itself would be a viable option, it would not provide the revenue necessary for the on-going operations of the station.

Why Not Use Impact Fees to Build the New Station?

We are. A significant portion of the money saved for the building is from the City’s collecting of a public safety impact fee. However, the law limits the amount of the impact fee the City can collect and it limits which expenses can be covered by impact fees.

First, the amount of an impact fee is specifically limited to the identifiable costs that new development will create for public safety. The formula the law requires the City use shows the need for a new station is not created solely by new development. For example, the simple but significant increase in commuter traffic has increased the demand for emergency medical services, and that increase is not attributed to growth in the City. Additionally, the need for a more timely response to the wildland-urban interface area is not solely driven by new development.

Second, impact fees can only be used for buildings and identified equipment, and cannot be used for personnel costs. While the City is collecting and effectively using impact fees, those fees – and the limitations imposed on the use thereon – make them insufficient to address the entire need.

How Much of My Property Taxes Go To Layton City?

Approximately 11.31% of your property taxes go to Layton City. Under the proposed increase, it would be approximately 13.75%.

How long will construction take?

The City will not have a precise timeline available until after the bidding process. Once the City has that information, it will make it available to the public.

I have concerns about the details of the fire station and the 2019-2020 budget. How can I make sure my concerns get heard?

Layton City has created a website, laytoncity.org/Station4, where you can gather information. If you have more questions or concerns, you may attend the upcoming Open House on July 31 from 6 to 8 pm at 530 North 2200 West or one of the upcoming council meetings. See the council meeting schedule at http://www.laytoncity.org/LC/Government/CouncilMeetings.

What are your long-term plans for fire protection as Layton City continues to grow?

Just as the City acquired the property for Station 4 several years ago, the City has already acquired property for two future stations. One of those will be a relocation of an existing station, and the other will be a new station, Station 5. No timeline has been established for the construction of either of these.

The planned relocation is for the City’s oldest station, located at 199 North Fort Lane. This station was built in 1970 and was not constructed to accommodate full-time staffing. At the time of its original construction, the Fire Department was an all-volunteer service, and was not staffed 24 hours a day until 1981. To house and accommodate full-time staffing, the station has had to undergo numerous modifications and remodels. As we continue to add personnel and responsibilities to each station, this building is no longer able to meet those requirements.

With the construction of the new Intermountain Layton Hospital, Layton City acquired property on Layton Parkway suitable for the relocation of this fire station. This site is an ideal location for our inter-facility transfers from the hospital, and for incidents on and to the west of Interstate 15. Because this existing station is currently staffed, its relocation represents a capital investment with no added ongoing personnel costs.

Although the timeline for the construction has not been established, the property for Station 5 has been in City ownership since 1999. It is located at 1872 North Layton Hills Parkway, just north of the Davis Conference Center. This station will service the northwest portion of the City and its increasing residential and commercial uses. It will also serve as a critical link with the other stations in the City.

Leave a Comment about Station 4

At Layton City, we are interested in your comments, concerns and suggestions.

You can also leave anonymous comments by not including your name, email, or personally identifiable information.

I would like a response from someone at the city: Yes No




I would prefer to be contacted by phone: Yes No



NOTE: The feedback is checked during normal business hours. All concerns and comments are reviewed by the Administration Staff and forwarded to the appropriate Layton City department for response. Every effort will be made by department staff to respond to your comments in a timely manner.
Use of the feedback system to post advertisements is expressly forbidden. If your feedback contains any links to websites your feedback will not be accepted.