Election: Fire districts would dissolve, services would stay

STANWOOD — A ballot measure for voters in the North County Regional Fire Authority has caused some confusion.

The fire authority consists of two former fire districts that merged in 2008. Under state law, those two fire districts still exist on paper. They are required to have separate meetings and separate audits.

The fire chief and the commissioners want that to change. They’re asking voters in the April 25 special election for approval to dissolve District 14 and District 18. The emergency services and the management won’t change, Fire Chief John Cermak said.

“People are asking if we are losing our fire department,” he said. “No, we’re not losing our fire department.”

The fire authority is based in Stanwood and serves about 105 square miles, including the areas of Warm Beach and north of Arlington. About 17,000 people live in its boundaries, not counting the city of Stanwood, which contracts with the fire authority for service. The ballot measure only was sent to those who live in Districts 14 and 18. There are more than 11,000 registered voters in those districts.

A mailer was sent about a week ago. It included language about what might happen to the elections for fire commissioners. Some mistakenly thought the ballot measure was designed to change the election process immediately. Currently, commissioners are elected from each district. In the future, that could be changed to at-large elections. That hasn’t been decided, though, and that kind of change doesn’t require a public vote, Cermak said.

Dissolving the old districts is meant to remove “unnecessary and costly administrative” requirements, he said. “We’re not changing any service levels.”

As of Friday morning, the mailer had prompted more than a dozen phone calls to the fire department. Ballots are scheduled to be mailed out in about three weeks.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 work could disrupt travel through Lake Stevens

Construction is set for roundabouts on South Lake Stevens Road and one at North Davies Road and Vernon Road.

Logo for news use featuring Whidbey Island in Island County, Washington. 220118
Floatplane wreckage recovery in Puget Sound begins

The U.S. Navy will use a remotely operated vehicle Deep Drone 8,000, a barge and a crane in recovery efforts.

U.S. 2 was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish on Monday evening because the Bolt Creek fire spread close to the highway. (Washington State Department of Transportation)
U.S. 2 closed near Skykomish as Bolt Creek fire spreads

The highway was closed from the Money Creek tunnel to Skykomish, mile posts 46 to 50.

This screenshot shows a man being hoisted to a rescue helicopter Monday after being involved in a plane crash near Lake Cavanaugh. (Snohomish County Sheriff's Office)
Brothers rescued after plane crash en route to Snohomish area

The two men, 78 and 79, were flying from Skagit County to an airstrip south of Snohomish when their plane went missing.

A woman was injured in an attack Sunday at Clark Park in Everett. (Everett Police Department)
Police: Purse snatching in Everett park led to stabbing

A Snohomish woman, 36, was arrested for investigation of first-degree assault and first-degree robbery.

A semi truck blows smoke out of its exhaust pipes while driving southbound on I-5 on Friday, Sept. 23, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Reader: Did a tractor-trailer cover my car in diesel soot?

Probably not, according to a Department of Ecology spokesperson, since diesel emissions are getting “cleaner.”

Everett Memorial Stadium and Funko Field on Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
City, county studying new outdoor stadium for Everett AquaSox

MLB facility requirements prompted government leaders to look at replacing Funko Field, either there or elsewhere.

Compass Health’s Broadway Campus in Everett. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
Judge dismisses Compass Health lawsuit over Marysville man’s death

Joshua Klick’s estate argued his relationship with a counselor signaled negligence. A judge found the claim had expired.

Councilmember Megan Dunn, left, stands next to County Executive Dave Somers as he presents his 2023 budget proposal to her, Councilmember Nate Nehring and Councilmember Sam Low. (Snohomish County)
Somers: Federal aid creates ‘historic opportunity’ to tackle challenges

The Snohomish County executive’s plan focuses on public safety, housing, child care, climate — and mountain biking.

Most Read