Proposal will appear on the Nov. 7, 2023, general election ballot
The Camano Island Fire & Rescue Board of Fire Commissioners passed a resolution to place a fire levy lid lift on the November 7, 2023, general election ballot at their June 12 meeting. The lid lift would fund additional personnel to respond to higher call volumes and station improvements to allow for 24-hour staffing at the Mabana fire station.
“Our call volumes are up 28 percent since 2017 and we’re responding to overlapping calls 20 percent of the time,” Fire Chief Levon Yengoyan said. “We need more firefighters to respond to calls. Adding a second paramedic to each shift will help us meet the service level needs of our community.”
If approved by voters, the fire levy lid lift will fund:
- Up to six additional firefighter/EMTs or firefighter/paramedics
- Another medic unit staffed by a second paramedic
- Renovation of the Mabana station to allow for 24-hour staffing
These improvements will reduce response times and improve service reliability across the island. For example, EMS calls account for 66 percent of all emergency calls. Right now, Camano Fire has just one paramedic per shift to provide the highest level of care available outside a hospital. Transporting a patient to an area hospital can take an ambulance and paramedic out of service for as long as five hours. An additional medic unit staffed by a second paramedic would help reduce the reliance on mutual aid, which takes longer to reach the island.
Camano Fire is asking voters to change the fire levy from $0.83 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $1.25. The $0.42 lid lift would cost an additional $17.50 per month or $210 per year for the owner of a $500,000 home.