Questions About the Fire Levy Lid Lift?
Camano Island Fire & Rescue has planned two meetings to share information about a proposed fire levy lid lift to meet the increasing demand for emergency services. Community members with questions are invited and encouraged to attend:
- Monday, October 23, 6:00 p.m. (Mabana Station, 3651 South Camano Drive)
- Saturday, October 28, 10:00 a.m. (District Headquarters, 811 N. Sunrise Boulevard)
The Camano Island community is being asked to consider a 25-cent fire levy lid lift for emergency services during the November General Election. If approved, funding would be used to hire emergency personnel, replace aging apparatus, and maintain District facilities.
The lid lift would cost the owner of a $350,000 home an additional $7.29 per month ($87.50 per year). The last time voters approved a fire levy increase was 13 years ago.
The Board of Fire Commissioners approved asking voters to consider a fire levy lid lift based on a 10-year Strategic Plan the Fire District developed late last year. Call volumes have increased almost 29% in five years, and emergency response times have started to increase.
Funding from the lid lift would hire two firefighters to provide additional coverage for peak call times during the day. This would reduce response times and improve the Fire District’s ability to respond to multiple emergencies that happen at the same time. CIFR currently relies on help from neighboring fire districts, which takes longer.
A portion of funding from the lid lift also would go to maintain facilities and replace emergency apparatus. The Fire District developed an apparatus replacement schedule as part of the Strategic Plan to make sure that fire engines, water tenders, and ambulances will be available and reliable for emergency calls. Even with an in-house mechanic, apparatus becomes costly to repair as it ages and parts are hard to find. Having modern apparatus is important to community safety, as well as the Fire District’s insurance rating, which is linked to how much home and business owners pay in premiums.
CIFR is asking voters to “lift the lid” of the fire levy from $1.10 to $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The maximum a fire district can ask for by state law is $1.50 per $1,000, but Fire Chief Michael Schick says that the Fire District doesn’t need that much.
“We run a pretty tight ship here,” said Chief Michael Schick. “We’re just asking for what is needed to meet the increasing demand for service.”
More information about the fire levy lid lift can be found on the Fire District’s web site at www.camanofire.com. Fire Chief Michael Schick also is available to answer questions at (360) 387-1512 or [email protected].
Election ballots are scheduled to be mailed on or before October 20. Ballots must be postmarked by Tuesday, November 7 (General Election Day) to count.