Ballot measure will be on Feb. 11, 2020 special election
BATTLE GROUND — The Board of Fire Commissioners for Clark County Fire District 3 approved a resolution placing an annexation proposal on voter ballots during the Feb. 11, 2020 special election. This came after the Battle Ground City Council passed a similar ordinance on Oct. 21. If approved by voters, the city of Battle Ground would annex to Fire District 3. Voters in both jurisdictions must pass the measure for it to take effect.
“This is the next step to protecting the quality and level of emergency services for both communities,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson.
Battle Ground is the only city in the area that contracts for emergency services. The current contract rate equates to $1.35 of the city’s $1.37 per $1,000 of assessed value general property tax levy. The emergency services contract is expected to exceed this amount in 2021, and services would have to be cut for the city to maintain a balanced budget.
Under annexation, all property owners would pay the same amount for emergency services directly to the fire district. City residents also would be able to vote on fire district issues such as commissioners, levies, and bonds, which they currently can’t do. The city plans to reduce its utility tax for renters and property owners by 46 percent to help offset the cost of the fire levy.
Chief Sorenson says that fire district residents also have a stake in the game. Stations in both jurisdictions back up one another during multiple emergency calls. The contract has allowed for improved training, fire marshal and fire prevention services. This partnership also contributes to the strong insurance rating for both communities, which is linked to how much home and business owners pay in premiums.
If annexation is approved, the fire district would receive the two fire engines and supporting equipment owned by the city. It also would receive a deed to seven acres of city-owned property for a future fire station that would be ideally located to serve both communities. The existing fire station would be leased to the fire district at $1 per month.
“Contracts are short-term and temporary. We are stronger working together as one agency,” said Chief Sorenson. “Annexation will allow us to plan long-term for the emergency service needs of both communities as we grow.”
More information can be found on Fire District 3’s website at www.fire3.org. City residents are encouraged to visit its website to learn more at https://www.cityofbg.org/470/Fire-Emergency-Medical-Services.
Information provided by Clark County Fire District 3.