Camano Island Fire and Rescue passes 2017 budget – November 29, 2016

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Camano Island Fire and Rescue passed its 2017 Budget at a recent November meeting. Overall, the fire district is healthy with a balanced budget, another clean audit, and is meeting all of its financial obligations. However, skyrocketing call volumes and the costs associated with meeting this demand are preventing the fire district from making service improvements in 2017.

“Call volumes are up almost 33 percent in four years,” said Fire Chief Michael Schick. “That’s taking all the resources we have at the moment so there will be no service improvements.”

Highlights of the 2017 Budget include the planned replacement of personal protective equipment for firefighters and some equipment used to provide emergency medical service. The fire district also plans to continue its fire prevention education program, and expand its efforts to recruit volunteer firefighters.

Chief Schick says that the agency needs to add emergency personnel and replace some of its aging apparatus in the near future. The fire district recently completed a Strategic Plan that identifies the personnel, apparatus and facilities maintenance required to meet the emergency service needs of the community for the next 10 years.

Revenue is an issue that the Camano Island community will need to consider moving forward. Emergency services are funded by two property tax levies: one for fire suppression and another for emergency medical service. The EMS levy was renewed by voters last year at 50 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. In 2004 voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.25, which has fallen to $1.08 per $1,000 in 2017.

A copy of the 2017 Budget and Strategic Plan for Camano Island Fire and Rescue are available under the “Resources” tab at www.camanofire.com. Fire district residents with questions or comments are encouraged to contact Chief Schick at [email protected] or (360) 387-1512.

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Camano Island Fire and Rescue provides fire suppression, emergency medical service and technical rescue to 16,000 people over 40 square miles. Forty-nine full-time, part-time and volunteer firefighters responded to an average of 1,900 calls per year.