Fire District 13’s commissioners approved their 2018 budget at a special business meeting Nov. 3. The $1.81 million budget covers $797,623 in operating expenses, $883,000 for a proposed fire station and property on the east side of the Swinomish Channel and includes a reserve of $200,603. The budget is not fully funded: it projects $250,000 from the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community, a request that the Swinomish Tax Committee will consider on Nov. 16. Other projected revenues include $170,000 in BLS transport fees, for emergency response request runs that the District bills, but reimbursements are not guaranteed, and other smaller grant and tax funds. Fire Chief Roy Horn called the budget conservative, expressing optimism that revenues from fees, grants and taxes will exceed budget projections. The budget includes $560,500 from the sale of Fire Station 3 to the Town of La Conner. The Town is expected to approve this purchase price. A new east side fire station requires a property purchase at an unknown location. If a station is not built in 2018, the funds will transfer to the District’s reserves. Horn expressed hopes that the District’s insurance rating will be reduced to level five by the time of his retirement next year. Each reduction provides reductions in home owners insurance policies. The District had an eight rating when Horn started. Commissioners discussed and agreed to funding a consultant to assist them with the search for a new fire chief. The vote was unanimous. The commissioners are Charles Hedlund, chair, Larry Kibbee and Bruce Shellhamer. Fire District 13 encompasses the southeast half of Fidalgo Island, including unincorporated areas around March’s Point, and a parallel area on the east side of the Swinomish Channel extending almost to Best Road and south to the North Branch of the Skagit River.