GRANITE FALLS — Gown Valley Fireplace District 23 may very well be absorbed into Granite Falls Fireplace District 17 if voters cross a poll proposal subsequent week.
Because the Nineteen Thirties, District 23 has overseen the unincorporated neighborhood of Gown Valley, positioned about 10 miles east of Granite Falls alongside the Mountain Loop Freeway. District 23’s jurisdiction spans 12 sq. miles of land, protecting a part of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie Nationwide Forest and serving roughly 370 residents.
The district doesn’t have sufficient tax funds to pay workers and was funded by volunteers till about two years in the past.
“When COVID hit, all volunteers stopped attending conferences,” mentioned fireplace marshal John Sobieski. “None got here again after the emergency ended. That they had discovered different actions.
An absence of volunteers coupled with a restricted price range within the district has resulted in delayed response instances in Gown Valley, Sobieski mentioned. With out the funding to pay workers, District 23 started to rely closely on neighboring District 17 in Granite Falls.
For the previous two years, the Granite Falls Fireplace District has been dedicated to serving the Gown Valley space.
“They principally take all the cash from our tax base for contracted providers,” Sobieski mentioned. “So we have been working to maintain the constructing heat with funds which can be dwindling quickly in the mean time.”
District 23 has traditionally relied on used tools from different native districts, as its $60,000 annual price range is used to cowl insurance coverage, some emergency medical provides, and maintaining station lights on. With no volunteer base, the district can not serve its neighborhood, Sobieski mentioned.
If the merger proposal is accepted, District 17 will take over all properties and infrastructure from District 23. Gown Valley Station at 31907 Mountain Loop Freeway will function a storage facility for Granite Falls fireplace tools.
Sobieski mentioned he and the opposite two District 23 commissioners — Tony Inexperienced and Dick Dingham — totally help the merger.
“I feel it is going to be a giant win for us total,” he mentioned. “This can enhance fireplace and EMS providers for our residents. You understand, Granite Falls not too long ago added a medical program, which shall be very useful to our residents.
If the proposal passes, Gown Valley residents will doubtless see a property tax enhance beginning in 2024, Granite Falls Fireplace Chief Jim Haverfield mentioned. Residents of Granite Falls won’t see a tax enhance.
When requested, Haverfield couldn’t present a selected projected tax enhance. He famous that there shall be no change for the yr 2023.
“The (District 23) station is in determined want of repairs,” Haverfield mentioned. “We’ll most likely have to speculate some cash in there to keep away from leaks and presumably use it for storage.”
The chief mentioned he helps the merger and has not heard of any opposition locally.
Longtime Gown Valley resident Rick Helpful mentioned he helps the merger, though he can be unhappy to see the tip of an period in District 23. is a former commissioner.
“Occasions, they alter,” Helpful mentioned. “It takes a lot time and coaching to run a station. We not have volunteers or a tax base.
Helpful, who lives proper subsequent to the hearth station, sat down at his kitchen desk final week and reminisced concerning the previous days of District 23.
“I will miss it,” Helpful mentioned. “Years in the past we held Gown Valley Days to boost cash for the resort. We did a dunk tank, and one yr we roasted a complete pig. We made spaghetti with the leftovers.
If handed, the merger will take impact on January 1, 2023.
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