Mukilteo may join with Fire District 1 to save money

MUKILTEO — The city could be out of the fire protection business as soon as September.

The Mukilteo City Council on Monday reviewed a proposed contract with Snohomish County Fire District 1 to absorb the city’s fire department.

The contract likely will go to a council vote within the next few weeks, Mayor Jennifer Gregerson said.

The city also plans to hold an open house on the topic as the decision approaches, she said. Newly elected council members need to be brought up to speed.

“This is our first full discussion and the first of a few,” Gregerson said.

By her math, the contract could save the city more than $12 million over 20 years. The contract will cost about $5 million a year.

Mukilteo and the fire district have been in merger talks off and on for years.

Fire District 1 serves most of southwest Snohomish County and already contracts with the cities of Brier, Edmonds and Mountlake Terrace. In south county, only Mukilteo, Lynnwood and Bothell have kept their own city fire departments.

The Mukilteo Fire Department in 2013 had the equivalent of 29.5 full-time employees, including 25 firefighters and paramedics. The 2013 budget was $4.3 million.

Fire District 1 is expected to hire all of Mukilteo’s firefighters and fire department employees, except for the fire chief.

Former fire chief Mike Springer retired in May, and Assistant Fire Chief Brian McMahan has been serving as interim chief.

McMahan may join Fire District 1, but that would be negotiated between him and the district, Gregerson said.

The new contract was designed to begin Jan. 1, 2015, but it could start anytime after it’s signed, Gregerson said.

The number of firefighters and paramedics assigned to Mukilteo would stay the same.

The city’s savings come from paying a guaranteed flat rate, rather than weathering unpredictable costs, such as overtime spikes or repairs for a rig that breaks down, the mayor said.

“There’s more certainty with cost control,” she said.

The contract also covers fire marshal services, such as fire prevention education and outreach, code inspections and fire investigations.

Both the city firefighters union and the fire district’s union have expressed support for the merger.

As part of the draft contract, the fire district agrees not to oppose any future annexation efforts in Mukilteo — something that’s been a sore point, and a labor union battle, in the past.

“It takes that fight off the table,” the mayor said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; rking@heraldnet.com.

More in Local News

Man arrested after police find van full of drugs, cash and guns

An officer on patrol noticed a vehicle by itself in the middle of a WinCo parking lot at 2 a.m.

Bolshevik replaces BS in Eyman’s voters pamphlet statement

The initiative promoter also lost a bid to include a hyperlink to online coverage of the battle.

After work to address issues, Lynnwood gets clean audit

The city has benefited from increased revenues from sales tax.

Man with shotgun confronts man on toilet about missing phone

Police say the victim was doing his business when the suspect barged in and threatened him.

Detectives seek suspect in woman’s homicide

Alisha Michelle Canales-McGuire was shot to death Wednesday at a home south of Paine Field.

Car crashes near Everett after State Patrol pursuit

The driver and a second person in the car suffered injuries.

Smith Island habitat restoration cost to rise $1.2 million

The project is intended to increase survival rates for juvenile chinook salmon.

A customer walks away after buying a hot dog from a vendor on 33rd St and Smith Street near the Everett Station on Friday. The Everett Station District Alliance pictures the area east of Broadway and south of Hewitt Avenue as a future neighborhood and transit hub that could absorb expected population growth. (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
How can Everett Station become a vibrant part of city?

A neighborhood alliance focused on long-term revitalization will update the public Tuesday.

Jim Mathis, the Vietnam veteran whose Marysville garden was recently featured in The Herald, died Wednesday. Mathis, who suffered from PTSD and cancer, found solace in his beautiful garden. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Vietnam veteran Jim Mathis found peace in his garden

The Marysville man who served two tours died Wednesday after suffering from cancer and PTSD.

Most Read