Fire Service Levy

2022 Fire Service Levy Information

To improve fire services in the City of Oak Harbor, we are asking voters to consider an increase in property tax levies on the November 8, 2022 General Election ballot. Voters will be asked to consider two separate propositions that will work together to fund needed fire service improvements: a levy lid lift and an excess levy (general obligation bonds).

The levies will provide funding for improved fire protection response times and capabilities, allowing the City to:

  • Build and operate a fire station in the southwest area of the City
  • Increase minimum staffing
  • Replace one 24-year old engine and equip the new station with a Quint truck
  • Purchase necessary protective gear and tools

The Reason Additional Funding Is Required

As our city grows, our capacity to provide exceptional service must grow with it.

The City of Oak Harbor has grown, mostly in the southwest area. Since the current fire station was built in 1990, the fire department's coverage area has increased from 3.4 square miles to 9.7 square miles (185%) and call volume has increased 91%. The City's population has increased 43% and there are 51% more homes (plus an additional 500 homes are now in the building process). The only fire station in no longer centrally located.

Independent studies found that 25% of Oak Harbor residents live outside of the target response times and recommended the city build a second fire station and increase staffing to reduce response times.

In addition, the City must replace two 24-year-old fire engines. Their replacements will be housed in the new station, one will be replaced with a quint (combination engine and ladder truck). 

Additional career and paid-on-call firefighters will be hired to staff the new station 24 hours/day, 7 days/week and provide additional coverage throughout the city.

Fire Service Levies Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Expand/Contract Questions and Answers 

  1. Why is the city pursuing a second fire station?

As Oak Harbor continues to grow and expand, particularly in the southwest area, fire department response times continue to rise. A 7-8 minute response time to the southwest area is not acceptable. 

The City of Oak Harbor has grown, mostly in the southwest area. Since the current fire station was built in 1990, the fire department's coverage area has increased from 3.4 square miles to 9.7 square miles (185%). The station is no longer centrally located. 

Since the 1990's, Oak Harbor's population has increased 43% and the number of homes has grown by 51% (plus an additional 500 homes are now in the building process). Calls for service has increased 91% -- but the number of firefighters responsible for answering calls has only increased by 2. 

Independent studies in 2006 and 2016 found that 25% of Oak Harbor residents live outside of the current target response times and recommended the City build a second fire station and increase staffing to reduce response times and capabilities.

In addition, the City must replace two 24-year-old fire engines. Their replacements will be housed in the new station, one will be replaced with a quint (combination engine and ladder truck).

  1. Why are there two (2) propositions on the ballot?
  1. Two types of levies?
  1. Why use bond financing for these capital projects?
  1. How much would the city issue in bonds?
  1. When did the city last ask for a public safety bond/levy?
  1. What happens if the propositions do not pass in Novmeber?
  1. Learn about Military and overseas voters

Ways You Can Support the Oak Harbor Fire Department

  • Learn about the levies and needs of the fire department
  • Share flyers and information provided below with your City of Oak Harbor friends/neighbors
  • Invite Fire Chief Ray Merrill to discuss the levies at your service club meetings/gatherings
  • Learn about fire service on Whidbey Island (review the Map of North Whidbey Island Fire Services (PDF))

Printed materials are available during business hours at these locations in Oak Harbor:

  • Fire Station 81 at 855 E Whidbey Avenue
  • City Hall at 865 SE Barrington Drive
  • The Center at 51 SE Jerome Street
  • Greater Oak Harbor Chamber of Commerce at 32630 State Route 20

Get Answers to Your Questions and Talk with Fire Staff

We expect the community to have questions about the levies and invite you to chat with Fire Department staff about the levies:

  • Contact Oak Harbor Fire Department at 360-279-4700 or by email
  • Follow us on Facebook
  • Scheduled events will be posted here, please check back for updates
  • Watch the City Council Meetings about the Levy featuring Fire Chief Ray Merrill and Finance Director David Goldman on the City's YouTube Channel

Funding Information

Graph displaying Funding Information

Supporting Documents