CCF&R plans meetings on tax rate hike plan

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Clark County Fire & Rescue is holding two public meetings to get input on a levy lift the agency is considering placing on the August primary ballot.

The public is invited to attend and share its opinions on the proposal at the upcoming meetings. The first is scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 21 at Station 22, 29800 N.E. 112th Ave. in Battle Ground and the second meeting is scheduled for 4 p.m. on April 13 at Station 21, 911 N. 65th Ave. in Ridgefield.

The proposed levy lid lift would increase the district residents’ property tax rate from $1.41 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.50 per $1,000. For a $300,000 home, that would mean about $27 more per year in property taxes — or $450 total — should the levy increase pass. Property owners in what used to be Clark County Fire District 2, which merged with Clark County Fire & Rescue, will see a higher rate because of the Woodland-area district’s recent merger.

The agency reports that response times have increased at all of its fire stations within the past year and say that’s due to economic downturn and losing the $2.4 million revenue from losing its contract with the city of Battle Ground.

Excluding calls to Battle Ground, Clark County Fire & Rescue said that it has seen an increase in emergency call volume of 10.6 percent between 2014 and 2016.

“Funding would rehire seven to nine firefighters to reduce response times and staff Station 22 in Charter Oak,” Chief John Nohr said in a press release. “It also will help us address our facility and apparatus needs, which is important to maintain our insurance rating.”