Search for Marysville fire chief put on hold

MARYSVILLE — The future of the Marysville Fire District remains unclear, and the search for a new fire chief has been put on hold until it gets figured out.

For more than 20 years, the city and the fire district have governed together under a contract. Now, they are considering forming a regional fire authority, a new government body that would levy taxes and respond to fires and medical emergencies.

A committee drawn from leadership of the city and the fire district has been talking about the plan for months. Initially, they had hoped to bring a recommendation to the City Council this spring, and seek voter approval in April or August.

The talks continue, and it’s too soon to put something on the ballot, city administrator Gloria Hirashima said Tuesday. Monthly meetings are set for the foreseeable future, she said.

The committee now is going through the details of fire-service operations and finances to make sure everyone understands the pieces before moving forward, she said.

The committee eventually will make a recommendation on the fire authority plan, leading to a council review. Voter approval would be required by law.

In 2014, a consultant recommended creating the fire authority, saying it would provide a more modern, streamlined and permanent way of collecting taxes and providing service.

It’s not yet clear how a potential fire authority in Marysville would affect taxes for property owners.

For now, Assistant Fire Chief Martin McFalls is serving as the interim chief in Marysville. Longtime chief Greg Corn, who retired in March, oversaw the marriage of the city and the fire district in the early 1990s.

The Marysville Fire District serves 55 square miles including the city, a swath of the Tulalip Indian Reservation, Lakewood and parts of Smokey Point. Only one other regional fire authority exists in the county and is based in Stanwood. The topic has been broached in Bothell, Mill Creek and Arlington. The conversation in some places hits a dead end when it comes to different governing bodies consolidating their money and power.

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

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