Lynnwood won't continue with Regional Fire Authority talks

Councilmember-Loren-Simmonds crop
Lynnwood City Council President Loren Simmonds

The Lynnwood City Council has voted against further participation in the discussions for the proposed Regional Fire Authority.

The unanimous vote was taken at the Jan. 28 city council meeting.

Lynnwood joined with seven other jurisdictions in South Snohomish County to explore the creation of a single Regional Fire Protection Service Authority in March 2011. The other jurisdictions included Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo, Woodway, Snohomish Fire District 1 and Snohomish Fire District 7.

Lynnwood City Council President Loren Simmonds said there were multiple issues that factored into his vote.

“There is no model of governance that was even agreed upon,” Simmonds said. “There was no agreement upon the actual what I’m going to call ‘the level of service.’”

Simmonds was one of three elected Lynnwood officials, along with Mayor Don Gough and Councilmember Ben Goodwin, who were appointed to the Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee .

Simmonds added that because the authority would be a new entity, Lynnwood would have to borrow from $5-7 million for the first year.

“We’re not in a position to do that now because we’re working through some other issues,” Simmonds said.

There were other issues, such as potential tax inequities and equipment and property questions that were simply not resolved to Simmonds’ satisfaction.

“I had certain criteria in my mind of what I was looking for,” Simmonds said. “I wanted at least as good or better quality of service. I wanted to not pay more for the service we were getting. Hopefully, it would be less. There were unresolved issues

“In my opinion, it was premature.”

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