Marysville quits fire-department merger talks

Mayor Jon Nehring notified Arlington of the decision in a letter dated Jan. 10.

MARYSVILLE — The city of Marysville is abandoning talks with Arlington about merging fire departments.

The two agencies, along with Fire District 12, have been meeting since 2016. They were considering the formation of a regional fire authority, a new government body that would levy its own taxes and provide fire protection and emergency medical services.

Snohomish County has two fire authorities so far, one in Stanwood and another recently formed in south county.

Public safety consumes a huge portion of local government spending, and the costs are rising. Proponents of consolidations say they save resources and improve services, but the negotiations often snag on politics and local control.

In Marysville, the city has a long-term contract with Fire District 12 to jointly operate the Marysville Fire District. The City Council has indicated plans to continue separate talks with District 12 about what happens next, said Connie Mennie, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.

Mayor Jon Nehring notified Arlington of the decision in a letter dated Jan. 10.

The letter was shared with Arlington’s council members, said Kristin Banfield, a city spokeswoman. The topic is likely to come up at a council workshop on Monday, she said. Arlington officials will continue to explore their options for working with others around them, she said.

Leaders at the Marysville Fire District still believe a regional fire authority is the best option, Fire Chief Martin McFalls said in a prepared statement. They anticipate additional conversation, he said.

The Marysville firefighters union, Local 3219, also supports a fire authority, said Dean Shelton, the secretary-treasurer. He believes it would bring a more sustainable funding model. Additional firefighters are needed, along with fire station improvements, he said, citing the rapid growth in Marysville and Smokey Point, which includes parts of Marysville and Arlington.

“The RFA should be about better service to the community and less about governance,” he said.

Under state law, forming a fire authority requires a vote from the elected leaders of the involved agencies, followed by a public ballot measure. This coming May was supposed to be the deadline for Marysville and Arlington to submit an item for the August primary election.

The Arlington Fire Department’s budget in 2017 was $6.4 million, including emergency medical services. The Marysville Fire District was budgeted at $18.4 million last year.

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

Talk to us

More in Local News

Students arriving off the bus get in line to score some waffles during a free pancake and waffle breakfast at Lowell Elementary School on Friday, May 26, 2023, in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
800 free pancakes at Everett’s Lowell Elementary feed the masses

The annual breakfast was started to connect the community and the school, as well as to get people to interact.

Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring speaks at the groundbreaking event for the I-5/SR 529 Interchange project on Tuesday, May 23, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$123M project starting on Highway 529 interchange, I-5 HOV lane

A reader wondered why the highway had a lane closure despite not seeing work done. Crews were waiting on the weather.

Justin Bell was convicted earlier this month of first-degree assault for a December 2017 shooting outside a Value Village in Everett. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Court: Snohomish County jurors’ opaque masks didn’t taint verdict

During the pandemic, Justin Bell, 32, went on trial for a shooting. Bell claims his right to an impartial jury was violated.

Gary Fontes uprights a tree that fell over in front of The Fontes Manor — a miniature handmade bed and breakfast — on Friday, May 12, 2023, at his home near Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Everett’s mini-Frank Lloyd Wright builds neighborhood of extra tiny homes

A tiny lighthouse, a spooky mansion and more: Gary Fontes’ miniature world of architectural wonders is one-twelfth the size of real life.

Will Steffener
Inslee appoints Steffener as Superior Court judge

Attorney Will Steffener will replace Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Janice Ellis, who is retiring in June.

News logo for use with stories about Mill Creek in Snohomish County, WA.
Police: Mill Creek man fatally stabbed wife amid financial woes

After quitting his job at Amazon, the man amassed about $50,000 in debt, triggering a discussion about finances, he told police.

Outside of the current Evergreen Recovery Centers' housing to treat opioid-dependent moms with their kids on Thursday, May 25, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
$8M in behavioral health grants to benefit children, youth, families

Snohomish County awarded one-time federal funding to five projects that will reach at least 440 new people each year.

Cooper Cummings from the United States celebrates after winning a men's downhill during the Cheese Rolling contest at Cooper's Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, Monday May 29, 2023. The Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is an annual event where participants race down the 200-yard (180 m) long hill chasing a wheel of double gloucester cheese. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Arlington High School grad is the big cheese after winning UK race

Cooper Cummings, who grew up in Lake Stevens, defeated a world record-holder in Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake.

Marysville firefighters respond to a 12-year-old boy who fell down a well Tuesday May 30, 2023 in Marysville, Washington. (Photo provided by Marysville Fire District)
Marysville firefighters save boy who fell 20 feet into well

The 12-year-old child held himself up by grabbing on to a plastic pipe while firefighters worked to save him.

Most Read