First responders win big in August primary

Cowlitz County Fire District 1 faces aging vehicles and equipment

The Daily News:

Fire District 1 levy passes, Boon and Kellar move on to general election


Press release:

Cowlitz County Fire District 1 is asking voters to consider a fire levy lid lift in the August 1 Primary Election. Funds would be used to replace outdated personal protective equipment, maintain aging facilities and eventually replace aging emergency vehicles.  It would equip the district to better respond to increasing fire and medical demands in the area.

“When seconds matter, it’s critical our volunteer fire crews are equipped with the right tools to save the lives of your family and friends during a fire or medical emergency,” said Fire Chief Eric Dehning.

Most of the vehicles the district uses to respond to calls are over 20-years old and much of its equipment no longer meets state standards. Meanwhile, the number of calls the fire district responds to has nearly doubled since 2010, yet the last voter approved funding increase was in 1981. While the fire district aggressively pursues grant funding, it isn’t much and it isn’t enough to bring equipment up to current safety standards.

“There’s never a good time to ask voters to pay more, especially when property taxes just went up, but we’re a volunteer fire district that relies on neighbors serving neighbors,” said Fire Chief Eric Dehning. “In our rural community it’s important we support each other, because when emergencies happen, they happen quickly.”

If approved, the ballot measure would increase the tax rate from the current 88 cents to $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. For example, at the current levy rate, owners of a $300,000 home in the district pay about $264 annually. Were the levy increase to pass, they’d pay about another $188 per year.

Fire Chief Eric Dehning and volunteer firefighters are available to discuss the proposed lid lift individually or to appear at meetings, and can be reached during the week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 360-225-7462. Cowlitz County Fire District 1 roughly serves the Woodland Bottoms, Green Mountain Road area, up Lewis River Road to just beyond Merwin Dam. If you have questions about which fire district services your area, give Cowlitz County Fire District 1 a call.

Cowlitz County Fire Protection District No. 1

Proposition No. 1

The Board of Cowlitz County Fire Protection District No. 1 adopted Resolution No. 041117 concerning a proposition to maintain and adequately fund District operations.

This proposition authorizes the District to establish its regular property tax levy at $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed value to be assessed in 2017 and collected in 2018. The funds will maintain and improve fire protection and emergency medical services, maintain staffing, replace apparatus, equipment and facilities and provide for firefighter safety. The maximum allowable levy in 2017 shall serve as the base for subsequent levy limitations as provided by chapter 84.55 RCW.