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News / Clark County News

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue commissioners consider levy lid lift

By Mia Ryder-Marks, Columbian staff reporter
Published: April 20, 2024, 5:57am

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue’s commissioners will meet next week to discuss placing a levy lid lift on the August ballot. The commissioners will convene at 4 p.m. Thursday at Station 21, 911 N. 65th Ave., Ridgefield, as well as virtually. The link is available online at www.clarkfr.org.

Over the past decade, the fire district’s response area has grown and so has the demand for emergency services, according to a news release. Since 2017, calls to the fire team have increased more than 40 percent.

Clark-Cowlitz Fire Rescue funds daily operations and capital purchases such as fire engines, fire stations, ladder trucks and other necessary equipment through a capped levy at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The district also collects an emergency medical service levy of 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed value that funds paramedic positions, medical equipment and supplies.

In 2017, voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. As property values have grown, the rate has fallen to $1.26 per $1,000 of assessed value. State law limits property tax revenue increases to 1 percent per year.

“CCFR has worked hard to use taxpayer dollars efficiently, while increasing the level of safety in our communities,” Fire Chief John Nohr said. “We have amazingly talented firefighters in this organization, but we are struggling to maintain response capability and capital purchases with the current fire levy.”

At Thursday’s meeting, fire commissioners will discuss asking voters in August for a levy lid lift of 24 cents per $1,000 of assessed value.

The fire levy lid lift would cost the owner of a $500,000 home an additional $10 per month or $120 per year.

According to the fire district’s news release, the lid lift would sustain staff of three firefighters at each fire station every day; purchase two additional fire engines and one water tender; finish construction of the partially built fire station in Woodland; construction of a new fire station in Ridgefield and improvements of existing facilities.

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