Down to three members, Regional Fire Authority planning presses on

By Doug Petrowski

Despite being down to three participating jurisdictions — Fire District 1 and the cities of Mountlake Terrace and Brier — the planning for a regional fire protection authority for much of south Snohomish County will continue.

The nine jurisdictions that originally came together in March of 2011 to explore the possibility of forming a Regional Fire Authority (RFA) met Wednesday night in Lynnwood to announce who would continue in the process and who wouldn’t. One by one, the cities of Lynnwood, Edmonds, Woodway, Mill Creek, Mukilteo and Fire District 7 reported that they will walk away from the planning process for the new fire district, but all said they will continue to be interested observers of the remaining RFA members.

The Edmonds City Council voted on Tuesday night to step away from the RFA planning, said Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling. “It has been a worthwhile process, and we will continue to attend meetings and monitor the progress,” Earling added.

The Lynnwood City Council voted unanimously to drop out of the RFA planning process last week, but will keep an eye on what develops in the near future of the proposed fire district. “The City of Lynnwood still has substantial interest in regional fire service,” said council president Loren Simmonds.

The nine remaining representatives from Mountlake Terrace, Brier and Fire District 1 continued the meeting after the departing jurisdiction representatives backed away from the table, scheduling upcoming meetings and setting future agendas. The committee members will consider issues of financing, governance, labor, a name for the district, and formulating a ballot resolution over the next few months.

Voters would have to approve a new Regional Fire Authority before its implementation. The committee hopes to have the measure on the Aug. 6 ballot; if passed the RFA would go into effect on Jan. 1, 2014.

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