Proposal will be on Feb. 11 special election ballot
BATTLE GROUND — The city of Battle Ground and Clark County Fire District 3 are scheduling public meetings to answer questions regarding the annexation proposal on the Feb. 11 special election ballot.
Ballots will be mailed to all registered voters in the city and Fire District 3on or before Jan. 24. The proposal must be approved by voters in both communities to take effect.
Meeting dates and times are as follows:
• Tue., Jan. 21 – 6-7 p.m. – Battle Ground City Hall (Room 148), 109 SW 1st Street, Battle Ground (98604)
• Mon., Jan. 27 – 5-6 p.m. – Hockinson Fire Station, 17718 NE 159th Street, Brush Prairie (98606)
• Wed., Jan. 29 – noon-1 p.m. – Battle Ground City Hall (Room 148)
• Tue., Feb. 4 – 6-7 p.m. – Hockinson Fire Station
The city currently contracts for emergency services with Fire District 3. The cost of the contract will exceed what the city collects in property taxes when it has to be renewed. The city would have to cut emergency service levels and other community services to maintain a balanced budget.
Under a contract relationship, the fire district cannot plan or invest in emergency services long-term or on a regional level. This is not cost-effective for taxpayers, or in the best interest of public safety.
If annexation is approved, city property owners would pay a fire levy directly to Fire District 3 at the same rate paid by district property owners. (The levy rate for district property owners would not change as a result of annexation.) City residents also would benefit with additional revenue available for police, road, park and trail improvements. (A full list of funded projects can be found on the city website at www.cityofbg.org/FireAnnexation.)
Battle Ground has passed a resolution to reduce its utility tax by 46 percent for water, sewer and stormwater to help offset the cost of the fire levy. Historically, the utility tax was increased to fund emergency service costs.
Fire District 3 residents would continue to have additional units from the city fire station to respond to emergencies in the District. Annexation also means better training for firefighters, a ﬁre marshal, and ﬁre prevention services in local schools and wildland interface areas. And, Fire District 3 could plan long-term for emergency services delivery on a regional basis.
“We are the closest emergency services provider for Battle Ground,” said Fire Chief Scott Sorenson. “It makes sense that we operate as one entity. Annexation protects the level and quality of emergency services for residents of both communities.”
City residents can learn more at www.cityofbg.org/FireAnnexation. City Manager Erin Erdman also welcomes questions at (360) 342-5005 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Fire District residents are encouraged to visit www.fire3.org, or contact Chief Scott Sorenson at (360) 892-2331 or email@example.com.
Information provided by city of Battle Ground and Clark County Fire District 3.