The Town of Twisp and Okanogan County Fire District 6 will jointly host an information session about the town’s proposed annexation to the fire district on Wednesday, July 12, starting at 6 p.m. in the Twisp Civic Building council chambers.
The question of whether the town will be become part of the fire district will be on the Aug. 1 primary election ballot. Voters in both the town and district must approve the annexation. Mail-in ballots will be sent out by the Okanogan County Auditor’s Office starting July 14. The town and fire district will pay for county for election costs within their jurisdictions.
The town and fire district earlier reached a pre-annexation agreement that spells out the terms of how the town will be annexed to the district if voters approve, including the transfer of some town assets such as the existing fire station on West Second Avenue. The agreement calls for the town and district to coordinate an information campaign including public meetings.
Currently the town has an agreement with Fire District 6 to provide fire protection services in Twisp through 2023, at an annual rate of $60,000. The “effective date of annexation” would be the date on which election results are certified by the county, in this case Aug. 15. If an annexation is approved, the existing fire protection agreement would remain in place until the district began taxing town residents in 2024.
If Twisp becomes part of the fire district, town residents will be eligible to vote in elections affecting Fire District 6 operations, and will be eligible to run for positions on the district’s board of commissioners. Currently, Twisp residents have no direct say in the operation of the fire district.
The Town of Winthrop annexed into the fire district in 2017, leaving Twisp as the only valley town still contracting for protection.