Washougal levies will improve service levels

Propositions 5 and 6 are the emergency services issues that many city of Washougal residents will be casting their votes on starting this week, as ballots begin arriving in mailboxes.

The Post-Record recommends that voters support both of these measures that will directly impact and improve emergency service levels in the community.

Washougal is a city that continues to grow. During the past five years, the population has increased steadily — approximately 8 percent since 2009. With that growth, more pressure has been put on emergency responders, including the police and fire departments to serve the city that now has 14,910 residents.

Proposition 5 replaces a previous levy that expired in 2012. Funding will support fire, paramedic and other emergency medical services. If approved, it will increase the city of Washougal’s regular tax levy by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay an extra $30 per year.

In recent years, with the consolidation of the Camas and Washougal fire departments, much focus has been placed on how the fire department operates and because of this many efficiencies have been realized. Steps have been taken to make sure public funds are being spent wisely, and to the citizens’ greatest benefit. The additional levy funds would make sure that the level of service that Washougal residents have come to expect continues.

Proposition 6 is also a 10 cent levy lid lift, but in this case the funds would be used for public safety services. Most notably, the money would support the hiring of an additional police officer. It will address the significant boost in calls that officers respond to. According to city leaders, call volume has increased 25 percent in the past five years — from 8,425 in 2009 to 10,646 in 2013. This increase has put a strain on the department, including in the areas of overtime and the ability of its current staff of 18 officers to spend time participating in drug and traffic enforcement, as well as code enforcement and crime prevention efforts.

If Proposition 6 is approved, it will increase the city of Washougal’s regular tax levy by 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation. This means the owner of a $300,000 home would pay an extra $30 per year.

For the reasonable amount of money that property owners would pay if these two levy lid lifts are approved, Washougal residents will see service levels from its police and fire departments maintained and improved. Vote ‘yes’ on City of Washougal Propositions 5 and 6.

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