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Here’s what’s on the April 23 special election ballot in Whatcom and Skagit counties 

Levies could fund a school district, EMS services and a new fire station

Only one resolution will be on the Whatcom County ballot. Skagit County residents will vote on up to three resolutions, depending on where they live. (Hailey Hoffman/Cascadia Daily News)
By Charlotte Alden General Assignment/Enterprise Reporter

This election reporting is provided free to all readers as a public service by the local ownership of Cascadia Daily News. Thanks for supporting truly local news by donating to CDN or subscribing here.

Some voters in Whatcom County, and all voters in Skagit County, will head back to the ballot box on April 23 for a special election.

Ballots were mailed on April 3, but only a small number of Whatcom County voters will receive them due to only one resolution being on the ballot: an increase to a tax levy for Fire District 17 in Sandy Point. All Skagit County residents should receive a ballot. 

Ballot drop boxes will close at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23. If you’ve received a ballot, here’s what could be on it. 

Whatcom County 

Fire District 17 in Sandy Point is seeking an increase of its property tax levy of about 56 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value to $1.25 per $1,000 in assessed property value to build a new station.

The district’s fire station was damaged twice by floods in 2022 and needs to be relocated and rebuilt outside of the flood zone. Additional funds would go towards increasing the district’s paid staff to keep up with rising call volumes in the district, according to campaign chair Jeanne Carroll. 

Read more: Fire District 17 in Sandy Point seeks new station amid flooding woes

Skagit County 

Skagit County voters will vote on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy renewal. Voters will be asked to approve a tax levy of 47 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, replacing the previous EMS levy, which collected at a rate of 44 cents per $1,000, starting in 2019. The rate has fallen steadily since then and stood at 31.6 cents in 2023. 

The funds will go to funding EMT positions, training, fuel, ambulance maintenance, medical supplies and more.  


Residents of the Mount Vernon School District will also vote on a replacement safety and technology capital projects levy from the school district. The levy went to voters in the February special election but failed by just six votes

The levy would allow the district access to nearly $7.5 million annually in tax dollars to fund safety and security systems and technology systems, licensing software and more related to technology and security in the school district. It’s replacing an existing technology levy that voters passed in 2019.

The proposed replacement levy would begin taxing residents at 95.7 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value in 2025, and decrease to 85.5 cents per $1,000 in 2026, to 76.3 cents per $1,000 in 2027 and 68.1 cents per $1,000 in 2028. It’s a reduction in scope from the levy that failed in February, which asked for a starting tax rate of $1.27 per $1,000. 

Skagit residents in Fire District 9, or the Big Lake Fire Department, will vote on a proposal to increase its levy. The proposition asks for voter approval to increase the levy by 19 cents per $1,000 in assessed property value for a tax rate of 57.9 cents per $1,000 starting in 2025.  

The increase will ensure that the small fire district will be able to maintain its current level of service and prepare for future capital project needs. The last time voters approved an increase to the levy was in 2002. In 2022, voters rejected a proposal to up the levy rate to 77 cents per $1,000 in a vote of 800 yes votes to 850 no votes.  

Charlotte Alden is CDN’s general assignment/enterprise reporter; reach her at charlottealden@cascadiadaily.com; 360-922-3090 ext. 123.

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