SOUTH COUNTY POLITICS: What kind of new fire entity?

  • Tue Mar 16th, 2010 7:52pm

By Evan Smith Enterprise political writer

It’s too early to tell what might come out of merger talks between Fire Districts 1 and 7, District 1 commission Chairman Jim Kenny told me Monday.

It wouldn’t necessarily mean one district absorbing the other. It could mean the two districts contracting with each other with each district handling different functions. It could mean the two merging to form a new fire district with a geographic name rather than a number.

Where would this leave the idea of a fire authority involving the districts plus the cities they now serve under contract and cities with their own fire departments, like Lynnwood and Mukilteo?

That would happen down the road, if at all, Kenny said.

District 1 serves Brier, Edmonds, Mountlake Terrace and Woodway under contract. District 7 serves Mill Creek under contract. I wrongly wrote two weeks ago that Mill Creek is part of District 7 as Shoreline and Lake Forest Park are part of their King County districts.

If the districts would merge, their two five-member boards would become a single 10-member board, with the number being reduced with each election until the board gets to five commissioners.

If the districts and nearby cities were to form a fire authority, its governing board could be either directly elected or chosen by city councils and district boards.

State senator defends sales-tax proposal

As the regular legislative session gave way to a special session, the Senate voted for a temporary three-tenths-of-one-cent-per-dollar increase in the State sales tax.

The proposal the Senate passed says the increase would be gone in three years.

Democratic Sen. Darlene Fairley of the 32nd District told me that more voters would accept a temporary sales-tax increase than would accept a proposed income tax on wealthy people.

“Most regular people don’t trust that, if we put an income tax on the wealthy, we won’t be putting one on them next,” she said. “They don’t feel that way about a temporary sales tax. For instance, in Grays Harbor County (one of the poorest counties) people say they can go for a temporary raise in sales tax. I think it’s because they are more familiar with this tax.”

Republican Rep. Mike Hope of the 44th District said that he expected the House to reject the general sales-tax increase in favor of a series of specialized tax increases, such as a sales tax on bottled water and a business-and-occupations tax on accountants and attorneys.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@verizon.net.