Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee to discuss governance, draft plan Aug. 1

The planning committee exploring fire service consolidation in South Snohomish County — including Mountlake Terrace — will meet Aug. 1 in Edmonds to discuss a draft plan for establishing a regional fire authority and to consider options for governance.

The Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Brackett Room at Edmonds City Hall, 121 5th Ave. N., Edmonds. All RFA Planning Committee meetings are open to the public.

The committee has been meeting for more than a year to evaluate the feasibility of forming a regional fire authority that would consolidate fire and emergency medical services into one department to serve all of south Snohomish County. Nine jurisdictions are participating in the planning process: Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Woodway and Snohomish County Fire Districts 1 and 7.

The RFA Planning Committee, made up of three elected officials from each of the nine jurisdictions, last month agreed on a proposal outlining finances and service levels for a regional fire authority. That information has been incorporated in the draft plan that will be discussed on Aug. 1.

If the RFA Planning Committee agrees to move forward with this draft plan,  elected officials in each jurisdiction will be asked to decide if they want to continue in the process of finalizing an RFA plan to take to voters. Planners expect the earliest a vote could occur would be the fall of 2013.

One important issue that will need to be addressed in the final RFA Plan is how the new organization would be governed. The RFA Planning Committee will discuss this in-depth for the first time at the Aug. 1 meeting. Options include appointing elected officials to represent each jurisdiction on a governing board, having voter-elected commissioners, or establishing a board that is a combination of appointed and directly elected representatives.

The RFA Planning Committee meets the first Wednesday of each month at 6 p.m. , and all meetings are open to the public. The meeting location rotates among participating jurisdictions and is posted on the RFA Planning Committee website.

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