Public invited to hearings on possible annexation vote for city and fire district

Battle Ground and Fire District 3 have been discussing the possibility of annexation for a year

BATTLE GROUND — Three public hearings are scheduled where the city of Battle Ground will discuss the possibility of annexing to Clark County Fire District 3. The public is invited to attend and comment on a ballot measure proposed for the Feb. 11, 2020 Special Election. Voters in both the city and fire district must approve annexation for it to go forward.

Battle Ground is the only city in the area that contracts for emergency services. Photo by Chris Brown
Battle Ground is the only city in the area that contracts for emergency services. Photo by Chris Brown

Battle Ground is holding two public hearings on Oct. 7 and 21 at 7 p.m. in Council Chambers, 109 SW 1st Street. Fire District 3 is holding its public hearing on Oct. 28 at 6 p.m. at 17718 NE 159th Street, Brush Prairie. The public is invited and encouraged to attend and provide comment at any or all of the meetings.

Battle Ground and Fire District 3 have been discussing the possibility of annexation for a year. The city contracts for fire and EMS with Fire District 3. Call volumes have increased to the point that costs to provide service are impacting the city’s ability to provide others such as police, roads, parks, and community programs. Specifically, the current fire services contract is $1.35 of the city’s $1.37 per $1,000 general property tax levy. The fire services contract would exceed the city’s general property tax levy in 2021.

Battle Ground is the only city in the area that contracts for emergency services. A contract is short-term and, because of its temporary nature, prevents the fire district from being able to invest in long-term operational and capital items. City officials claim the city is unable to fund these needs on its own.

Both the Battle Ground City Council and Board of Fire Commissioners must approve a resolution to place annexation on the ballot for voter approval in both jurisdictions. If voters approve annexation, the city would reduce its utility tax for water, sewer and stormwater for property owners and renters. Proponents of the annexation claim this would offset the cost of the new fire levy for city property owners by 30 percent. 

If annexation is approved, the fire levy rate will not change for fire district residents according to Fire District 3 officials. All property owners will pay the same projected rate of $1.30 per $1,000 of assessed value. City residents also would be able to vote on fire district issues such as commissioners, levies, and bonds, which they currently can’t do. 

More information can be found on the city’s website at https://www.cityofbg.org/470/Fire-Emergency-Medical-Services.

Those with additional questions are encouraged to email Chief Scott Sorenson (scott@fire3.org) or City Manager Erin Erdman (erin.erdman@cityofbg.org).

About Clark County Fire District 3

Clark County Fire District 3 provides fire suppression and emergency medical service to 40,000 people over 90 square miles, including the city of Battle Ground. Forty-five full-time and 13 volunteer emergency personnel responded to 4,221 calls in 2018 – 5.3 percent higher than the previous year. We live by our core values of professionalism, safety, teamwork, integrity, and community.  

More information on Fire District 3 can be found on its website www.fire3.org.

Information provided by Clark County Fire District 3.

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