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

Cat killed, 9 people displaced after duplex fire in Everett

None of the people were injured in the fire reported around 1:15 a.m. in the 11500 block of Meridian Avenue S.

Brian Henrichs, left, and Emily Howe, right, begin sifting out the bugs from their bug trap along Port Susan on Monday, May 22, 2023 in Stanwood, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
‘A delta for the future’: Scientists try to save salmon at Stilly’s mouth

The Stillaguamish River’s south fork once supported 20,000 salmon. In 2019, fewer than 500 fish returned to spawn.

Mountlake Terrace Library, part of the Sno-Isle Libraries, in Mountlake Terrace, Washington on Thursday, June 1, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Sno-Isle workers cite safety, unfilled positions in union push

Workers also pointed to inconsistent policies and a lack of a say in decision-making. Leadership says they’ve been listening.

A view over the Port of Everett Marina looking toward the southern Whidbey Island fault zone in March 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County agencies to simulate major disaster

The scenario will practice the response to an earthquake or tsunami. Dozens of agencies will work with pilots.

Logo for news use featuring the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Tulalip man sentenced to 4 years for carjacking

Michael J.D. Clark Jones received help from a woman after fleeing the police. He then assaulted her while stealing her car.

1 stabbed at apartment in Lynnwood

The man, 26, was taken to an Everett hospital with “serious injuries.”

A firefighting helicopter carries a bucket of water from a nearby river to the Bolt Creek Fire on Saturday, Sep. 10, 2022, on U.S. Highway 2 near Index, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Red flag fire warning issued west of Cascades

There are “critical fire weather” conditions due to humidity and wind in the Cascades, according to the National Weather Service.

Police stand along Linden Street next to orange cones marking pullet casings in a crime scene of a police involved shooting on Friday, May 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Lake Stevens man identified in Everett manhunt, deadly police shooting

Travis Hammons, 34, was killed by officers following a search for an armed wanted man in a north Everett neighborhood.

A house fire damaged two homes around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 6, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Fire burns 2 homes in Marysville, killing 2 dogs

Firefighters responded to a report of a fire north of Lakewood Crossing early Tuesday, finding two houses engulfed in flames.

Most Read