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Frequently Asked Questions

This page provides answers to questions frequently recived by district staff. If you cannot find the answer to your question here, please give us a call at (360) 834-4908. 

Water Tender 91 and Engine 91 Parked Ouside Station 91

 Is East County Fire and Rescue (ECFR) part of Clark County, the City of Camas, or the City of Washougal?

No, ECFR is a special purpose district. In Washington State, special purpose districts are limited purpose local governments separate from a city, town, or county government. Generally, they perform a single function. In the case of fire protection districts such as East County Fire and Rescue, they provided fire, rescue, and emergency medical services. The purpose, function, governance, and funding of fire protection districts is defined by state law (Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 52 Fire protection districts). Fire districts are governed by an elected board of fire commissioners and funded predominantly by property tax levies with their levy rate limited to a maximum of $1.50/$1000 of assessed valuation (AV).

An emblem stating property tax is capped at 1% despite home value increases.

 What is the one percent levy limit on increases in property taxes and how does this impact the fire district?

 Fire districts are predominantly funded by property taxes. For example, over 98% of East County Fire and Rescue’s revenue comes from property taxes. State law limits fire districts’ maximum levy rate of $1.50/$1,000 of assessed valuation. In addition, the Washington State Constitution limits increases in the total tax levy to 1% annually, plus addition of revenue from newly constructed buildings added to the tax rolls. As the total assessed value of property within the district increases, the levy rate decreases to limit increase in the fire levy to 1%.

The historical inflation rate in the United States varies from year to year, but historically has been just over 3% annually. ECFR maintains a conservative fiscal philosophy and operates with a balanced budget as required by state law. With the 1% limitation on increases in the annual tax levy, revenue cannot keep pace with the increasing cost of maintaining service levels. This means that from time to time the board of fire commissioners place a fire levy lid lift on the ballot to provide the voters with a choice to provide sufficient funding to maintain or improve service delivery levels or if the district will be forced to reduce service to maintain its balanced budget.