By Evan Smith Herald Writer
South Snohomish County officials have agreed to decide by Feb. 6 whether to proceed with plans for a regional fire authority and who would be a part of it.
A regional fire authority is a government entity that would provide fire service for a group of nearby cities and fire districts.
Such entities have been successful in two south King County areas: one in the Kent-Covington area and one around Auburn.
Officials from seven south Snohomish County cities — Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway — and from Snohomish County fire districts 1 and 7 have been meeting for about two years to discuss the idea.
At a Wednesday meeting, the group of nine shrunk to eight when members of the Mill Creek City Council announced that their city is withdrawing from the planning group. Representatives of the remaining six municipalities and two fire districts have agreed to get decisions by the Feb. 6 meeting about continuing the process from their city councils and district boards.
So far, the city of Brier is the only entity to commit to staying in the process.
Mountlake Terrace City Manager John Caulfield said Thursday that the remaining entities hope to have a plan to present to voters on the August ballot.
Issues still to be settled are whether members of the governing board would be directly elected by voters or appointed by city councils and whether cities would pay for the service out of their budgets or the authority would have its own taxing authority
Fire District 1 covers unincorporated areas from the Snohomish-King county line to south Everett. Fire District 7 covers unincorporated areas between Lynnwood and Mill Creek and stretches north to Snohomish. Lynnwood and Mukilteo have their own fire departments. Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway get service by contract with Fire District 1. Mill Creek gets service by contract with Fire District 7.