The King County Fire Protection District 27 Board of Commissioners recently approved a resolution to merge Fire Districts 27 and 10 that will be placed on the February 12, 2019 special election ballot.
District 27 serves Fall City. District 10 includes unincorporated King County areas of Carnation, Issaquah, Sammamish and Renton and is currently served by Eastside Fire & Rescue (EF&R). If the merger is approved, Fall City Fire District 27 would become part of EF&R
According to a press release, a task force of elected officials – including fire department administrators, community members, and firefighters – worked diligently for over a year evaluating the benefits of moving forward with a consolidation of fire districts and the benefits to the Fall City community.
Per the release, the Task Force’s entire focus was based on:
- Ensuring the exceptional level of current fire protection and emergency medical services to Fire District 27 are heightened
- Stabilizing funding and cost control measures
- Daily staffing levels guaranteed with expanded access to a dedicated training division and incident command support
- Preservation of the community volunteer firefighter program
Fire District 27 and Fire District 10 said they have worked collaboratively since the inception of Eastside Fire and Rescue in 1999 to meet the emergency services needs of the region and combining workforces, a coordinated training division and an expanded level of daily incident management will improve the service delivery to community members, while enhancing the safety of Fall City firefighters.
Longtime Fall City Firefighter Patrick LeDoux said, “Fall City Firefighters support a merger of the fire districts because it provides the Fall City community with an increased level of emergency services at a lower overall cost to the community. The merger also provides our firefighters with safer working conditions, increased opportunities for advancement, and access to specialized equipment and training opportunities. This merger allows employees to serve Fall City even better, while preserving the rich history and tradition the community is accustomed to.”
Proponents of the merger say 77% of District 27’s taxpayers will see a decrease, amounting to a $300,000 savings. The current Maintenance of Operation levy that funds the district would be replaced by a fire benefit charge.
Proponents also say Fall City residents will see an increased service level, increasing to a 24-hour a day, [guaranteed] three-person staffing model – up from the current two-person model; a dedicated training division; community liaison officer; specialized operational response; access to specialize equipment; and a Fire Marshalls Division with fire inspectors.
All current Fall City Fire employees would retain their positions and the “Fall City” identity would remain on the fire station and trucks.
The February 12th ballot initiative needs a simple majority to pass.