Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Dec. 11, 2019

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Fire District 3 puts annexation on ballot

The Columbian
Published: October 30, 2019, 5:59am

BATTLE GROUND — North county residents will have the chance to vote on Fire District 3 annexing the city of Battle Ground into the district’s jurisdiction on Feb. 11. The city council passed an ordinance earlier this month agreeing to put the annexation up for vote by city residents.

Battle Ground is the only Clark County city that contracts for fire service. Its contract with Fire District 3 dates back to 2016; prior to that, the city contracted with Clark County Fire & Rescue.

City officials are looking at annexation to help solve problems paying for a fire contract. Battle Ground uses 21 percent of its general fund to pay for the contract with Fire District 3, which amounted to roughly $3 million this year. If the city is annexed into the district, fire and emergency services would be paid by taxpayers through a separate fire levy.

The vote will be open to those who live in the Fire District 3 coverage area, which includes Battle Ground, Hockinson, Brush Prairie and Venersborg.

If annexation is approved, the district would receive two fire engines and supporting equipment currently owned by the city, as well as a deed to 7 acres of city-owned property for a future fire station that would serve the affected communities.

The existing fire station would be leased to the district at $1 per month.

“Contracts are short-term and temporary. We are stronger working together as one agency,” Fire District 3 Chief Scott Sorenson said in a release from the agency. “Annexation will allow us to plan long-term for the emergency service needs of both communities as we grow.”

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