Okanogan County Fire District 6’s Proposition No. 6, a tax levy lid lift to support the construction on a new fire station in Winthrop, is being approved by a large margin in returns from the county auditor’s office as of Friday (May 1).
Election results showed a solid turnout for the approval with 1,527 yes votes (69%) and 682 no votes (31%).
District 6 provides fire services from Gold Creek to Lost River, covering 300 square miles in the Methow Valley, and provides services to the towns of Carlton, Twisp (through a contract), Winthrop and Mazama. Proposition 6 asked for a property tax increase of 17.5 cents to the existing levy of 65.5 cents, which will result in a permanent levy of 83 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.
The tax increase will start in 2021 and will go toward funding the construction of a new fire station, which is slated to be built on land owned by the district on Horizon Flats Road in Winthrop.
“I really appreciate the support from the community for this. It blows me away on the percentage that there was,” said Fire Chief Cody Acord. “Pat Leigh was campaign manager, and I think she did a great job getting the message out to folks.”
The fire district had earlier asked voters twice to pay for the construction of a new Winthrop fire station, and both measures were rejected. A bond measure failed in 2008, and the district also lost a simple-majority levy vote in 2014, when it asked for $2.4 million.
The new fire station is anticipated to cost $4.034 million, with $600,000 being provided by the fire district and $1.8 million by a grant, secured by the district, from the Bruno and Evelyne Betti Foundation, with the rest being made up through proceeds from the levy lid lift.
“I look forward to being able to get this fire station build and in service for the community, and the firefighters,” said Acord, who plans to get work started on building the new station in the spring of 2021. “It’s an exciting time right now for all of us.”