Regional fire department could be formed in south Snohomish County

Seven south Snohomish County cities may team up to form one large fire department.

Tonight the mayors and city councils of Lynnwood, Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Mill Creek, Mukilteo and Woodway will meet to discuss the possibility of forming a Regional Fire Authority.

Under such a plan, the costs of running the fire department would transfer to the fire authority. Supporters say money would be saved by combining resources. It would be funded through a property tax levy.

It’s not a new idea. City officials in the region have been talking about similar proposals for the past few years.

“I believe the last time there was regional fire authority involvement by most of the south county cities it was two or three years ago.  That involvement terminated at a meeting where it was identified that there was interest in major annexations by both Mukilteo and Lynnwood,” Lynnwood Fire Chief Gary Olson told us.

Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke is expected to speak at tonight’s meeting. Her city recently formed a fire authority with King County Fire District #37.

Voters would have the final say on whether the fire authority should be created.

In the meantime, Lynnwood and Mukilteo continue talks on the possibility of sharing resources between their two cites.

“The chiefs and staffs of each department have been asked to continue to look for efficiencies that could be shared. The two councils met in December and it was identified that to go further would require organizational changes and major labor negotiations that would possibly result in a merger,” Olson said.

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