Voters approve merger of fire districts

WARM BEACH The election results werent certified until May 30, but voters in Bryant, Freeborn and Warm Beach decided May 15 that Snohomish County Fire Protection Districts 14 and 18 could officially form the second fire authority in Washington state history.
Dale Fulfs, chief of Snohomish County Fire Protection District 18 and interim chief of Snohomish County Fire Protection District 14, confirmed that Proposition 1 received a majority of at least 50 percent plus one vote. As a result, Snohomish County Fire Protection Districts 14 and 18 will merge to form the North County Regional Fire Authority effective Jan. 1, 2008, with funds from the existing property tax levies for the two districts, thereby combining fire and emergency medical services for Bryant, Freeborn and Warm Beach.
Fulfs reiterated that the fire authority would formalize the working arrangement thats already developed between the two districts, and that this measure would not include additional or increased taxes.
Fulfs elaborated that, instead of each fire district maintaining its own three-member board of commissioners, the fire authority would consolidate it into a single six-member board of commissioners, so that both districts would retain their current levels of representation.
Customer service is our top priority here, said North County Fire and EMS Battalion Chief Christian Davis. These two districts have done this as a successful trial for the past five years. They want to cut out the unnecessary red tape, like separate budgets and redundant board meetings.
Snohomish County Fire Protection District 14 includes Freeborn Station 96 and Warm Beach Station 97, while Snohomish County Fire Protection District 18 includes Kackman Station 90, Bryant Station 91 and Grandview Station 92. Stations 90, 96 and 97 are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week, while Stations 91 and 92 are staffed by volunteer responders.
Between both districts, weve got about 70 people covering 108 square miles, Davis said. Itll be 100 people, when all our positions are filled.

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