FAQs on Annexation

Frequently Asked Questions on Annexation

Clark County Fire District 3

What’s on my ballot?

Voters will be asked to allow the City of Battle Ground to annex to Clark County Fire District 3. The proposal likely will be on the February Special Election ballot in 2020.

Where does Fire District 3 serve?

Fire District 3 started in the Hockinson and Brush Prairie areas. In the following years, it grew to include the communities of Venersborg, Heisson and the Battle Ground Lake area.

Why is my fire district asking for this?

Currently, the City of Battle Ground contracts with Fire District 3 for fire and EMS. A contract is short-term by nature, which does not allow the Fire District to plan regionally for emergency services. This is inefficient and not cost-effective for taxpayers.

How do Fire District residents benefit from a partnership with Battle Ground?

Revenue from the contract provides additional emergency units to respond into the Fire District. It also provides fire marshal services and fire prevention education in our local schools. 

What happens if annexation is not approved?

The City funds emergency services through its general property tax levy. Emergency service costs will exceed its general fund revenue by the time the contract has to be renewed. The City will have to cut emergency service costs to maintain a balanced budget. If this happens, the Fire District will reduce emergency service levels in the City, which means fewer personnel and apparatus to respond to emergencies in our area as well. Fire prevention education also would be cut.

How would governance change?

Fire District 3 is governed by a three-member Board of Fire Commissioners elected from within the jurisdictional boundaries of the district.  Under annexation, Fire District 3’s jurisdictional boundaries will expand to include the area of incorporated Battle Ground.  Any resident within these jurisdictional boundaries could run for these positions as they come up for election. 

Will this cost my family more?

The fire levy rate would stay the same for property taxpayers in the Fire District. Property owners in the City would begin paying the same fire levy rate for emergency services directly to the Fire District instead of the City. Each area pays their fair share for service.

What about the fire levy lid lift we approved in 2017?

Revenue from the fire levy lid lift has been used to benefit Fire District residents through additional staffing, apparatus, and facilities maintenance. The Fire District maintains two separate accounts for revenue it receives from our taxpayers and the City. This information is available by contacting Fire Chief Scott Sorenson at (360) 892-2331.

What will happen to the emergency apparatus and fire station owned by the City?

The City would give its two fire engines and supporting equipment to the Fire District. It also will deed seven acres of City-owned property for a future fire station that would be located in an ideal place to serve both communities. The existing fire station would be leased to the Fire District at $1 per month.

I’ve heard the City fire station needs to be replaced. Who will pay for that?

The City would lease the existing fire station to the Fire District for 99 years. Facilities would be planned for on a regional basis, and no decision has been made about replacing the station. 

Will more Fire District taxes go to the City under annexation?

The Fire District is required to plan, monitor, evaluate, and respond to service levels in all the areas it serves. This is a requirement to maintain our community insurance rating. The point of annexation is that the Fire District could plan long-term as opposed to keeping two separate accounts for the City and unincorporated areas. This is important to provide quality emergency services as our communities grow. It also is more cost effective for taxpayers to plan for capital needs such as facilities and apparatus.

What is the process for annexation?

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Fire District 3 and the Battle Ground City Council must approve resolutions to place annexation on an election ballot. At this point, we’re considering the February 11, 2020 Special Election. The next step is for voters in both the Fire District and the City to approve the ballot measure. If that happens, annexation would take effect the following year January 1, 2021.

Who pays for new growth in the City and the Fire District?

The City collects a one-time Fire Impact Fee from new residential or commercial developments. This revenue is dedicated to funding capital projects for fire, such as the new engine that was purchased in 2014. Under annexation, these impact fees would be used by the Fire District instead to fund future fire capital projects. After the Fire Impact Fee, property owners in the City would pay the same fire levy rate for service as those in the District.