FUNDING FIRE DISTRICTS
Challenges in Arizona
Arizona Fire Districts face unique funding challenges.
FACT: The primary source of funding for Fire Districts is property taxes.
FACT: From 2016 - 2022 call volume increased by 36% without a corresponding increase in resources.
FACT: Development doesn’t pay for needed fire service infrastructure, yet there’s an increased demand for services.
FACT: In 2020, a new fire engine cost around $650,000. In 2023, it's up to $1.2 million.
ONE SOURCE OF FUNDING
Property taxes are the single primary source of funding for Fire Districts in the State of Arizona, which presents its own set of challenges:
- Fire Districts across Arizona continue to see an increase in call volume. Between 2016 and 2021 CAFMA saw an increase in calls without a corresponding increase in resources. We are still attempting to catch up in 2023.
- Fire Districts are responsible for increased coverage as soon as a shovel touches the ground in construction, but Districts typically don’t see revenue until two years after project completion.
- State regulations prevent Fire Districts from receiving impact fees.
- Development doesn’t pay for development.
- Prop 117 (2012) limited revenue that Fire Districts can receive from property taxes. Learn more about Prop 117.
Proposition 117 (2012) limits Fire District revenue from property taxes:
- Fire Districts were moved from the Full Cash Value of a property to the Limited Property Value.
- The Limited Property Value is limited to a 5% increase per year.
- The 2023 Net Assessed Value remains below the Net Assessed Value of 2008.
Fire districts are not immune to rising costs, so just as you’ve experienced a hike in the price of household items – and just about everything else – so have fire districts! Presented below are a just a few instances illustrating the rising costs in our area:
Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority (CAFMA) has researched, strategized, and put into motion a three-year plan to meet these funding challenges head-on, while doing our best to limit the burden on our taxpayers.
- An increase in staffing where necessary, applying for SAFER Grants to assist with hiring new firefighter positions.
- Develop a Cadet Program that will benefit youth in our community while at the same time creating a local pipeline of potential applicants.
- Partner with Priority Ambulance on a plan for Alternative Response Units (ARUs).
- Continue to research and advocate for alternative funding sources for Fire Districts.
HOW THIS IMPACTS YOU
Is your family impacted by Arizona Fire District funding challenges? First and foremost, when you dial 9-1-1 during an emergency, you anticipate a swift response, the deployment of high quality equipment, and the delivery of top-tier, efficient medical attention.
Besides wanting the very best in emergency fire and medical services, we know that you care about your finances. Recently, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) for our area increased from a ‘3’ to a ‘4’ due to a lack of deployable resources (apparatus, etc.), lack of personnel, and lack of hydrants. If these challenges are not met, then you may soon see a rise in insurance costs.
Use the following search form to view your residential property information, as well as estimates of tax increases over the next few years. Please note, this is only available to those properties within the jurisdiction of Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority.