Clark County Fire District 3 recently approved a strategic plan for how it will serve its residents over the next five years. The plan provides a comprehensive look at the fire district’s current capabilities for operations, capital items and what is needed for the future. The plan also calls for annexing the City of Battle Ground to improve emergency services planning.
Fire District 3 currently serves residents and businesses of Battle Ground through a contract agreement with the city. Since contracts are temporary in nature, the fire district is prevented from making investments in staffing, apparatus and facilities.
“We are the closest provider for the City of Battle Ground. It is safer for both our communities and more cost-effective for taxpayers to plan for emergency services on a regional basis,” Fire Chief Scott Sorenson said in a news release. “That’s why we’re proposing the city annex to the fire district.”
Fire District 3’s Strategic Plan identifies its relationship with the City of Battle Ground under the section and explains that the current partnership has provided advantages to city and district residents. Advantages include additional units to respond to emergencies, better training for firefighters, a ﬁre marshal, and ﬁre prevention services in local schools and wildland interface areas. These factors contribute to the strong insurance ratings for both communities.
However, the current contract rate is projected to exceed the city’s property tax levy collections. The city would have to reduce emergency service levels to continue to operate under a balanced budget and this loss of revenue would impact services received by district residents.
The plan states, “annexation will maintain response capabilities for both the city and district residents. Additionally, [annexation] will provide the ability to plan and make investments in personnel, apparatus, equipment, facilities.”
The annexation proposal will be on the ballots of voters in both jurisdictions during the February 11 special election. It must pass in both the city and the fire district to take effect.
The Strategic Plan was developed over the course of a 12-month period. Residents of Fire District 3 and its emergency personnel contributed to the plan before it was submitted to the Board of Fire Commissioners for consideration. The Strategic Plan and information about the annexation proposal can be found on the Fire District’s website at fire3.org. City residents are encouraged to visit Battle Ground’s website for annexation information: cityofbg.org/FireAnnexation.
— Fire District 3
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