Sunday, March 26, 2023
March 26, 2023

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East County Fire and Rescue, North Country EMS levies passing easily

Officials pleased by comfortable approval margins

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter

East County Fire and Rescue’s one-year levy lid lift was passing comfortably Tuesday night, while two levies for North Country Emergency Medical Services were passing by even wider margins.

All of the levies all need simple majorities to pass.

The East County levy is passing by 59.26 percent. Its passage would allow the rural fire district, which serves areas near Camas and Washougal, to set the collection rate at $1.50 per $1,000 of current assessed property values.

“Well, I’m pretty darned excited,” Chief Mike Carnes said. “It’s just huge for us, being a rural district.”

The owner of a $450,000 home would pay an additional $12.75 per month. Due to inflation costs and increased property values, the actual rate would be 34 cents higher than the most recently approved levy for the same price in 2008.

In November, voters narrowly rejected a levy at the same rate but for a five-year time span.

But at a recent open house, voters seemed to have more of an appetite for the levy lid lift, Carnes said. “They seemed a lot more positive this time in their feedback.”

North Country EMS Levies

A North Country levy for residents of unincorporated areas is passing by 81.54 percent, and another one for Yacolt residents is passing by 85.93 percent.

The identical levies to benefit the same agency would renew rates of 50 cents per $1,000 of current assessed property value for 10 years. The owner of a $300,000 home would pay $150 per year.

Because of inflation and rising property values, the levy approved in 2009 has fallen in real value to 37 cents per $1,000, Chief Shaun Ford said. Additional revenue would help with rising costs of fuel, medical equipment and pay raises to maintain staffing.

“We’re always pleased when we see these results,” Ford said. “I think it very much shows that the citizens we serve value our service out there.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter