Community invited to learn more about fire levy lid lift
Proposition will appear on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot
Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue invites the community to learn more about the fire levy lid lift that will be on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot. The purpose of the lid lift is to improve emergency services.
Learn more at a Q&A session:
- Thursday, October 19 at 6 p.m. at Station 54, 3253 Day Road in Greenbank
- Saturday, October 28 at 10 a.m. at Station 51, 109 N. Main St. in Coupeville
Fire Chief Jerry Helm will deliver a short presentation and answer any questions.
Central Whidbey Fire reports call volumes have increased 50 percent since 2012, but current staffing levels have not kept up with the community’s growing demand for emergency services. As a result, response times are increasing.
Additionally, the fire district cannot guarantee personnel will be available to respond when a second, third, or fourth call happens at the same time – which is occurring more frequently. Overlapping calls account for 28 percent of all calls. The fire district relies on full-time, part-time, and volunteer personnel, but volunteers are not always available to respond, which results in unpredictable staffing levels. This then leads to longer response times that can seriously affect survival rates. Sixty percent of all calls are for emergency medical services (EMS).
The fire levy lid lift would fund four additional firefighter/EMTs. The additional staff would allow the fire district to provide both a fire engine and a Basic Life Support medical unit at the same time – instead of just one or the other. It would also allow the fire district to meet state safety requirements to perform interior search and rescue operations without having to wait for another fire engine to arrive on the scene.
These improvements will help reduce response times and improve service reliability across the district.
The fire district is asking voters to change the fire levy from $0.86 to $1.18 per $1,000 of assessed property value. The $0.32-cent lid lift would cost an additional $160 per year or $13.34 per month for the owner of a $500,000 home.
Learn more at www.cwfire.org.
Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue provides fire and life safety services to 9,000 people over 50 square miles north of Mutiny Bay and south of Libbey Road. The fire district relies on full-time, part-time, and volunteer emergency personnel who respond to an average 1,715 calls per year, of which 60 percent are for emergency medical service (EMS). Firefighters are highly trained to provide services for fire suppression and prevention, EMS, technical rescues, hazardous material spills, auto extrication, and life safety programs. Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue operates under a balanced budget and has passed all its financial and accountability audits by the state.