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FIRE LEVY LID LIFT

What we do
We provide fire and emergency medical service (EMS) to 6,800 people over 27 square miles, bordering Farm to Market Road to the west, Highway 20 to the south, District Line Road to the east, and Interstate 5 at Bow Hill Road to the north. We rely on part-time and volunteer emergency personnel who respond to an average 1,200 calls a year, of which 67 percent are for EMS.


We operate under a balanced budget and have passed all financial and accountability audits by the state.


How we are funded
Our daily operations are funded by a fire levy. In 2018, voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.05 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Since that time, the rate has dropped to $0.70 per $1,000.


Why did the levy rate drop?
Each year we are allowed to collect a set amount of revenue. State law limits us to that same amount each year plus one percent more. Even if property values double, we can only collect the same amount we did last year plus one percent. This means that the levy rate drops as property values rise to limit our budget to that one percent increase.


This is called “levy compression” and impacts our ability to provide emergency services as call volumes increase.


What is a fire levy lid lift?
From time to time, we must ask voters to restore our fire levy. This is known as a levy lid lift, and it helps us keep up with higher call volumes and costs to provide service.


Voters approved a fire levy rate of $1.05 in 2018. Since then, the rate has dropped to $0.70 while call volumes have increased by 102 percent in the last seven years (since 2016). 


Response times are increasing because current staffing levels are unable to keep up higher call volumes. Costs to provide service are also going up. For example, costs to replace aging self-contained breathing tanks and protective gear for firefighters have doubled. 


Lid lift will improve service at less cost to taxpayers than borrowing money
We are asking voters to consider returning the fire levy to $1.05 per $1,000 during the November 2023 general election. This equates to a $0.35 increase. 


The revenue from the lid lift would fund:
•    Two additional firefighters to keep up with higher call volumes 
•    Replace an aging ambulance and self-contained breathing tanks and protective gear for firefighters

•    Renovations to add more sleeping quarters at the fire station to increase our 24-hour emergency response coverage


These improvements will reduce response times, improve service reliability districtwide and protect firefighter health and safety. The lid lift saves money by purchasing these items with cash as opposed to borrowing money through a bond which costs taxpayers more in interest payments. These improvements also will maintain or improve our risk rating, which is connected to what homeowners pay in insurance premiums.


What will this cost me?
The owner of a $400,000 home would pay an additional $140 per year or $11.67 per month. 

 

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Fire Chief Chief Ed Tjeerdsma welcomes your questions at etjeerdsma@skagitfire6.com and 360-757-2891.

MEDIA RELEASES

Letter to the Editor - November 9, 2023

Community invited to learn more about fire levy lid lift - October 10, 2023

Skagit County Fire District 6 invites community to Open House on September 9 - August 31, 2023

Letter to the Editor - July 27, 2023

Revenue is not keeping up with demand for emergency services - July 25, 2025

Board of Fire Commissioners passes fire levy lid lift resolution - May 11, 2023

Board of Fire Commissioners to meet on fire levy resolution - April 27, 2023

Skagit County Fire District No. 6 Reports Call Volumes Are Up 102 Percent Since 2018 - 3/30/2023

NEWS COVERAGE

Skagit County Fire District 6 considering asking for increase to levy - Skagit Valley Herald (Go Skagit) - May 2, 2023

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Newsletter - Summer 2023 

PRESENTATION AVAILABLE 
Fire Chief Ed Tjeerdsma welcomes the opportunity to speak to local service organizations, community groups or homeowner associations. He can provide an overview of the fire district, the proposed lid lift, and answer any questions. Please contact him at 
360-757-2891 or   etjeerdsma@skagitfire6.com.

I want to thank the community for their support of our fire levy lid lift in the November general election. Because of you, we will fund additional firefighters, replace an ambulance and firefighter equipment, and renovate our fire station to increase 24-hour emergency response coverage.  

 

We’re grateful our community sees the value of fire and emergency medical service. We will report back to you as we make progress on the projects we promised.  

 

Thank you for partnering with us to save lives and property. 

 

Fire Chief Ed Tjeerdsma 

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Skagit County Fire District No. 6 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:

  • Monday, October 23, at 6 p.m. at 16220 Peterson Road

  • Saturday, October 28, at 10 a.m. at 16220 Peterson Road

More Information 

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Skagit County Fire Protection District No. 6  is placing a proposition before the voters on the November 7, 2023 ballot to restore its 2023 regular property tax levy to $1.05 per $1,000.00 of assessed valuation for collection in 2024 and to establish a three percent growth factor for the following five years. The Fire District is accepting names of people interested in participating in voter pamphlet statement pro and con committees. Citizens interested in participating, please call Janel Biggs at (360) 757-2891 by July 10, 2023.

Skagit County Fire District No. 6 invites the community to an Open House on Saturday, September 9, to meet their local emergency responders and learn more about their fire district. The Open House will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the fire station located at 16220 Peterson Road in Burlington. There will be free food (hot dogs and hamburgers) and drinks. Fire trucks will be out for display and some free gifts for children.

Learn More

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BALLOTS DUE NOVEMBER 7

Ballots are due on Tuesday, November 7, 2023. For your vote to count, ballots must be postmarked that day, or returned to an official ballot drop location by 8 p.m. Ballot return locations in Skagit County can be found here: www.skagitcounty.net/Departments/AuditorElections/dropboxes.htm 

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