Watch for the February 2020 City Newsletter scheduled to arrive in mailboxes next week. Grab a sneak peek here! The edition includes information about reduced utility rates for seniors with low income, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, Craft Night at the Community Center, and this important Fire Annexation update from City Manager Erin Erdman:
The City of Battle Ground is asking voters to consider annexing to Fire District 3. Ballots were mailed the last week of January and must be postmarked by February 11, 2020 (Election Day) to count.
Battle Ground is the only city in Clark County to contract for fire and emergency medical services. This means you pay the City through its general property tax levy and the City writes a check to the Fire District.
The fire/EMS service contract will exceed the City’s property tax collection revenues by 2021. If annexation is not approved, cuts would need to be made to both fire and city services to maintain a balanced budget, which is required by law. The City Council has done the responsible thing and identified a list of cuts, which you can find at www.cityofbg.org/AnnexationImpacts.
I want to focus on the positive, however, and talk about how we can improve Battle Ground if annexation is approved by voters.
First and foremost, annexation means that we can protect the level and quality of emergency services City residents receive. It also would fund capital improvements (such as stations, apparatus and equipment) which the City can’t afford and the Fire District won’t make because of the temporary nature of a contract.
Other benefits include better police services. Our police department needs additional officers to investigate crimes, and our community wants stronger traffic enforcement and patrols.
Road improvements, street maintenance/preservation and sidewalk projects also would receive additional funding. We can improve City parks and trails and fund some beautification projects, as well.
I want to be clear: Annexation means property owners would pay a fire levy directly to Fire District 3. (The City will reduce its utility tax for water, sewer and stormwater drainage to offset some of this cost.) As part of the Fire District, City residents would be able to vote on fire commissioners, levies, and bonds, which they currently can’t do.
I encourage you to visit our website to learn more at www.cityofbg.org/FireAnnexation. You also can contact me (360-342-5005 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Fire Chief Scott Sorenson (360-892-2331 or email@example.com) with questions anytime. Thank you for considering our request.