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Fire District 17 in Sandy Point to rerun levy increase, measure failed by 1 vote

District aims to build new station as coastal flooding risk remains

Sandy Point in November 2022. Proponents of a levy say Fire District 17, which serves the area, is in need of a new station after the current building flooded twice in December 2022. (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.

Fire Protection District 17 will rerun its levy increase in the August 6 election after the resolution in the April 23 election failed by one vote.

The district put an increase to voters in order to build a new, relocated fire station and hire paid staff. The station was damaged twice by floods in 2022, and came “within inches” of flooding again this January, according to campaign co-chair Jeanne Carroll. The flooding hampered emergency response for months in Sandy Point and Neptune Beach.

In the April election, 257 people voted for the levy, and 258 people voted against it. Turnout was 37.5%.

“The long and short of it is we simply did not get enough information out to our voters early enough,” she said.

Carroll said the district will be filing today to place the levy increase on the August 6 ballot. The measure asks for a levy rate of $1.25 per $1,000 of assessed property value. 

If voters approve the new rate, then in 2025 the annual tax for fire response and emergency medical service on a $580,000 home, which is roughly Whatcom County’s median home value, would increase by $319.

Carroll said they have a larger team working on the new campaign and they’re developing a strategy so that every voter gets “multiple pieces of information” from the district on the need for the increase.

Carroll said because the flooding had been national news, the campaign team has “erroneously assumed” that people realized the need for the new station.

A public meeting has been scheduled for June 29 at 10 a.m. in the Sandy Point Clubhouse to discuss the ballot measure.

If the levy increase in August passes, the district will relocate its station to a plot of land on higher ground, donated by the Phillips 66 refinery.

The need for paid staff is growing, as Carroll said longtime volunteers are getting older.

“We’ve got to build funds into the budget in order to hire paid staff,” she said. “Both issues are equally critical. Without a fire station, we can’t provide services locally. Without staff, we can’t provide services either.”

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

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