March 2nd, 2023

Levy proposed to boost first responder staffs

This week marks the launch of an Anacortes campaign promoting a ballot issue to fund the addition of eight firefighters and five police officers.

The April 25 ballot issue will ask Anacortes voters to approve a property tax increase of 36 cents per $1,000, about $19.50 a month for the owner of a $650,000 home. With approval from voters, the city’s levy lid would be raised to $1.52 per $1,000, still lower than most cities in Skagit County.

Members of the Yes4Safety campaign point out that fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) calls have increased more than 60 percent over the last 10 years, while staffing has remained the same. Over the same period, there have been no patrol officers added to the APD.

There are times each day that only two police officers are on patrol for the entire city. And there are only six firefighter/medics (cross-trained) spread across three fire stations in Anacortes.

“We need more police and firefighter/medics to keep up with the growing number of 911 calls,” said Campaign Chair Kathy Pittis.
Members of the Anacortes City Council voted unanimously in December to ask voters to consider the proposal.

A campaign in support of the levy request will begin this week with promotional/informational elements ranging from yard signs to press releases and posts on social media. Speakers are also available.

Ballots will be mailed to Anacortes residents on Friday, April 7, with an election day of Tuesday, April 25.
For details about the ballot proposal visit

Steve Berentson

About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

Photos are available for use as prints and online use. Please contact me for pricing.

$12 for 5 X 7 inch archival print, mailing included.

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