Establishing commissioner election districts is required under the Regional Fire Authority (RFA) Plan approved by voters last year. Under that plan, Snohomish County Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood Fire Department combined to form South County Fire with an initial governing board of seven commissioners: all five elected Fire District 1 commissioners and two members appointed from the Lynnwood City Council. The RFA Plan calls for transitioning to a directly elected board beginning in 2019 with five commissioner districts. Two at-large commissioners will be directly elected in 2021.
South County Fire hired an independent consultant to draft a proposal for five districts with balanced population. Two informational open houses, a board hearing and an online survey solicited public input on the proposal.
A larger version of the map of the adopted commissioner election districts is available on the South County Fire website: www.southsnofire.org/ElectionDistricts.
The RFA Plan required that at least two of the commissioner election districts include a portion of the city of Lynnwood. Three of the proposed districts meet this requirement. The final plan adopted by the board puts the Esperance neighborhood in the Edmonds area in a single district (District 2), a change recommended by public comment on the initial proposal to split the neighborhood between two districts.
Voting will be by district in the primary election. The entire regional fire authority will vote in the general election to select from the top two vote-getters in each district. The two commissioner positions receiving the lowest number of votes in next year’s general election will be assigned initial terms of four years to create staggered terms. In future elections, all positions will have six-year terms.
Commissioner districts are for election purposes only. These districts will not change or impact 911 responses or the delivery of fire and emergency services.
The election districts do not include the cities of Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace, which receive emergency services under contract with South County Fire, but are not part of the regional fire authority.