Voters approve levy lid lift for Fire District 2

PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles-area voters have passed a 50-cent levy lid lift for Clallam County Fire District No. 2.

The 58-percent levy increase, which will fund staff and vehicles, had 1,491 yes votes to 1,314 no votes as of the first count — a margin of 53.2 percent to 46.8 percent.

The second count confirmed that the measure had the 50-percent-plus-one simple majority it needed to pass, with a total count of 1,816 votes, or 53.6 percent in favor and 1,570, or 46.4 percent opposed.

“Obviously we’re happy with it,” District Chief Jake Patterson said in a Wednesday interview before the second count of ballots.

“We appreciate the support from the community.

“I know there’s still a lot of ballots to count, so we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch,” Patterson added.

“We’ll know more today, but we’re very thankful for the support.”

Gives funding

The levy increase will pay for two first-responders to staff the Dry Creek station west of Port Angeles on weekdays and establish a fund to replace the district’s aging vehicles.

The lid lift will raise the levy rate from 86 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation to $1.36 per $1,000.

It would add about $100 in annual property taxes for the owner of a $200,000 home.

It would generate $660,000 in annual revenue for the district, which covers 85 square miles of unincorporated area outside of the city of Port Angeles from east of Deer Park Road to west of Lake Sutherland.

The new levy will replace a levy lid lift that district voters approved in 2014, which shrank from $1.07 per $1,000 to 86 cents per $1,000 as property values increased.

The district had to reduce the levy amount collected each year to stay within the 1 percent limit on revenue.

The 2014 levy paid for three full-time firefighter-paramedics and three full-time firefighter- emergency medical technicians.

The Dry Creek station at 700 Power Plant Road is now staffed only by volunteers who earn $15 per fire call, Patterson has said.

About 40 percent of the district’s call volume, which has risen by 83 percent over the last six years, is served by the Dry Creek station.

About $200,000 of the new levy revenue will pay for one firefighter-paramedic and one firefighter emergency medical technician to staff the Dry Creek station from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The remaining $460,000 generated by the levy will seed a revolving fund to purchase fire apparatus and vehicles.

A new fire engine costs $400,000 to $500,000, according to the district.

Patterson has said two water tenders and three engines that are 20 years old should be replaced in five or six years.

Clallam 2-Fire Rescue serves about 7,000 voters in the Freshwater Bay, Dry Creek, Madison Creek, Black Diamond, Belleview, Mount Angeles, Mount Pleasant and Deer Park precincts.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].