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Whatcom County Fire District 8

Maintenance and Operations Levy Facts 

History of the M&O Levy

In 2016 voters of Fire District 8 passed a 4 year maintenance and operation levy that increased the overall levy amount from $1.50 per thousand dollars of assessed value up to $1.97 per thousand.  Over the course of the 4 years this money has been used to maintain the daily staffing at each of the District’s two fire stations.  

While the M&O levy was successful in providing for the daily operations of the two stations, the District is struggling to fund needed capital improvements to facilities and apparatus.  Over the 4 year span of the levy, due to increasing property values, the levy rate has dropped to $1.68 per thousand.  The current M&O levy will expire in 2020 and without a replacement levy the District would return to a levy rate of $1.27 per thousand. 

 Why is a levy needed?

Fire District costs continue to increase at more than 3% each year, while revenue increases are capped at 1% per year without voter approval.  The last M & O levy allowed the District to staff both District stations and keep up with inflation.  The new M & O levy will continue to maintain those levels and allow for capital improvements. 

What will the new levy do?

The new M&O levy is being proposed to return the District’s overall levy rate to $1.97 per thousand.  This increase will allow the District to continue to maintain daily staffing at each of the stations and will provide approximately $300,000 a year towards capital replacement projects.  

Fire engines have a life span of 15 years of frontline service.  The District has two fire engines that will be 15 years old in 2020.  Instead of replacing these two engines (at the cost of $680,000 each) the district would send these two engines in for refurbishment at half the cost of replacement and be able to extend their lives an additional 10 years.  The District also has a 20 year old utility vehicle, two command vehicles that are 12 and 15 years old, and a 12 year old ambulance that will all need to be replaced during the life of levy.  

District 8 facilities are also in need of upkeep and repair.  Station 31, located on Bennett Dr., is over 60 years old and has issues with ground water leaking, a leaking roof, asbestos that needs to be abated, and a very inefficient heating system.  Station 34, located on McKenzie Rd., has significant dry-rot in the roof and needs to be repainted and reroofed.  Both stations apparatus bays do not meet safety or size requirements for modern day fire equipment.  

What will this cost?

The levy will provide an increase each year over the existing levy rate, starting with an additional $305,000 in 2021 up to $461,000 in 2024. This will result in an increase of $8.46 per month for the owner of a $350,000 home, starting in 2021.   



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WHATCOM COUNTY FIRE MARSHAL’S OFFICE

NEWS RELEASE

Burn Ban Lifted Effective 8:00am, Wednesday September 11, 2019

At that time, verbal burn permits will be available via the Outdoor Burning Information Line. Written burn permits for fires larger than 4’ X 4’ will be available at the Planning & Development Services Office located at 5280 Northwest Dr. All outdoor burning requires a permit, except for legal recreational fires.

If your property is located within WCFD 5 – Pt. Roberts, WCFD 11 – Lummi Island, or WCFD 17 – Sandy Point, you MUST contact those fire districts to find out if outdoor burning restrictions have been lifted for those areas.

If a property you want to have a fire on falls under the jurisdiction of the Washington State Department of Natural Resources or a federal forest or park jurisdiction, you must contact those organizations prior to lighting any fire. Not all jurisdictions are relieving their outdoor burning restrictions at this time.

For current outdoor burning information and verbal burn permits please call the Outdoor Burning Information Line at (360) 778-5903. Requirements for all types of outdoor burning are available on our website at: http://www.whatcomcounty.us/fire-marshal.

A permanent ban on open burning remains in effect for the cities and Urban Growth Areas (UGAs) of Bellingham, Lynden, Ferndale, Blaine, Everson, Nooksack, Sumas, Birch Bay, Columbia Valley, and Cherry Point. For more information on the permanent burn ban you may contact the Northwest Clean Air Agency at (360) 428-1617 or check their website at www.nwcleanairwa.gov.

Please remember as the burn ban is lifted:

Please use extreme caution! Vegetation is still recovering from the long stretch of dry weather and is susceptible to fire
spread.
Violations of these burn restrictions can result in a minimum $250.00 fine. In addition, if you have an illegal fire that escapes or needs to be extinguished by the fire department, you may be held financially responsible for fire suppression costs and may be criminally charged for Reckless Burning.

If you have any questions about open burning in Whatcom County that were not answered by the Outdoor Burning Information Line, please contact the Whatcom County Fire Marshal’s Office at (360) 778-5900.

Contact: Fire Inspector Will Anderson


Our newest Marietta Fire District 8 Engine 




Whatcom County Fire District 8
1800 Broadway
Bellingham, WA 98225

Phone: (360) 733-6612
Fax (360) 778-8401



Whatcom County Fire District #8 • P: (360) 733-6612 • F: (360) 778-8401