The city has explored this option. The estimated startup costs alone are nearly $7 million and annual operating costs would exceed $3 million, which the city cannot afford. We also cannot rely on a volunteer fire department considering the size of the city, which is 21,500 people making more than 2,500 emergency calls per year.
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The area within the city limits becomes part of Fire District 3’s jurisdiction. City of Battle Ground property owners would be within the fire district and pay for fire/EMS services directly to the fire district.
Unlike other Clark County cities, Battle Ground does not have its own fire department nor is it part of a fire district. The city contracts with Fire District 3 to provide services within the city. The current contract expires in 2021 and must be renegotiated.
Yes, the city went through a competitive bidding process. Fire District 3 was the most cost-effective and provided the highest level of service for our community.
The amount an individual property owner pays varies because it is based on the assessed value of their property. Currently, property owners pay the equivalent of $1.35 per $1,000 of assessed property value to the city for Fire/EMS services. This is paid out of the city’s general property tax levy of $1.37/$1,000.
Under annexation, the fire levy is projected to be $1.30/$1,000. To determine the projected annual cost of a Fire/EMS levy, simply multiply $.0013 by the assessed value of your home. For homes assessed between $300,000 and $400,000, the projected annual cost would range between $390 and $520. (The median assessed value of a residential property in the city is $298,000.)
To help offset the cost, the city will reduce its utility (water, sewer, stormwater drainage) tax from the current rate of 22% to 12% - a 46% decrease in the utility tax you pay should annexation occur. (The tax reduction is formalized in City Council Resolution #19-09.) For the average customer using 8 units of water and 6 units of sewer, the savings equates to $103 per year. The reduction in utility tax is beneficial to both homeowners and renters.
Any net increase in taxes is dependent on each individual’s circumstances. This Annexation Calculator will help estimate projected costs under your individual circumstances. **If the Annexation Calculator does not work with your browser, simply download it and open with Adobe Reader**
Yes, to help offset the cost, the city will reduce its utility (water, sewer, stormwater drainage) tax from the current rate of 22% to 12% - a 46% decrease in the utility tax you pay. For the average customer using 8 units of water and 6 units of sewer, the savings equates to $103 per year. The reduction in utility tax is beneficial to both homeowners and renters. The tax reduction, should annexation occur, was formalized by City Council on August 19, 2019 with Resolution #19-09.
The remaining revenue will be used to fund better response times for fire and police (including investigative services and stronger traffic enforcement), more street maintenance and preservation projects, sidewalk repair and replacement, parks maintenance and planning for park and recreation facilities, and more programs and events that engage and strengthen community.
If annexation is approved, the city will no longer have to pay the Fire District for services. (Fire/EMS will be provided to Battle Ground residents directly by Fire District 3.) The city will utilize the funds that currently go to pay the contract on an annual basis as follows:
The fire/EMS services contract will exceed the city’s property tax collection revenues by 2021. Without annexation, emergency service levels would have to be reduced for the city to maintain a balanced budget. The city has discussed what these and other service level cuts would be, including:
In 2019, the contract costs $2,964,508 which comes out of the city’s general fund. The general fund also pays for other city services such as police, parks and recreation, community development (planning, building, code compliance), and public works (streets and public facilities).
Voters in both the city and the fire district must approve annexation for it to occur.
The City collects a one-time Fire Impact Fee from new residential or commercial developments. This revenue is dedicated to funding capital projects for fire, such as the new engine that was purchased by the city in 2014. Under annexation, these impact fees would be used by the Fire District instead to fund future fire capital projects. After the Fire Impact Fee, property owners in the City would pay the same fire levy rate for service as those in the District.
If voters approve annexation, Fire District 3 will continue to maintain a fire station in the City. The existing station, owned by the City, will be leased to Fire District 3.