Board of Fire Commissioners to meet on lid lift resolution – June 19, 2017

Public invited and encouraged to attend

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Camano Island Fire and Rescue will consider a resolution asking voters to approve a 25-cent fire levy lid lift during the November General Election. The public is invited to these meetings to learn more, or share their thoughts about the proposal:

  • Monday, June 26– 4:30 p.m. – Country Club Fire Station (1326 Elger Bay Road)
  • Monday, July 10 – 7:00 p.m. – Administrative Headquarters (811 Sunrise Boulevard)

The lid lift would cost the owner of a $350,000 home an additional $7.29 per month ($87.50 per year). Funding would be used to hire two firefighters during peak call hours to reduce response times and improve the Fire District’s ability to respond to multiple emergencies that happen at the same time. Currently, CIFR relies on help from neighboring fire districts, which can take longer.

A portion of the funds also would be used to maintain facilities and replace aging apparatus (such as engines, ambulances and water tenders) that are past their usable lives. Full details of how the agency will meet the growing demand for emergency services can be found in a 10-year Strategic Plan completed earlier this year. To view a copy of the plan, visit the agency’s website at www.camanofire.com, then click on “Budget” under the “Resources” tab.

Call volumes have increased almost 29% in five years for CIFR, and more growth is expected for the island. More calls mean added costs for personnel, apparatus, maintenance, fuel, equipment, and other supplies. In contrast, the Fire District is limited to a 1% revenue increase per year by state law.

The last time voters approved a fire levy increase was in 2004 for $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The fire levy falls as property values rise, and it now sits at $1.10 per $1,000.

“Revenue is not keeping up with the demand for service,” said Fire Chief Michael Schick. “A lid lift is one way we have to restore funding and make improvements, like more firefighters to reduce response times.”

Community members unable to attend are encouraged to send their comments to Chief Michael Schick at mschick@camanofire.com or (360) 387-1512. All communication is welcome and becomes part of the public record.

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