Stanwood voters to consider annexing into North County Fire

If the measure passes, homeowners would pay fire/EMS taxes to the fire authority instead of the city.

STANWOOD — The city aims to join North County Fire and EMS, rather than continuing to contract with the district for fire protection and emergency medical services.

The plan would need voter approval.

A proposition on the Nov. 6 ballot asks whether the city of Stanwood should be annexed into the North County Regional Fire Authority, also known as North County Fire and EMS.

Since 2012, the city has contracted with the fire authority. The 2018 city budget includes $1.67 million for that agreement.

If the measure passes, the annexation would take effect Jan. 1. The city still would pay for services in 2019. North County Fire would begin collecting property taxes in Stanwood in 2020, and the city would cease collecting taxes for fire and EMS.

It’s a wash for taxpayers, said David Hammond, Stanwood’s finance director and city clerk.

“It won’t affect their property taxes … ” he said. “I think the real key is that the city residents will be able to directly elect their fire commissioners.”

The boundaries of the fire authority would be redrawn, and the board of fire commissioners would have seven members instead of five. Three would be elected from districts, one of which would closely follow the city boundaries. Stanwood residents also could run for four at-large positions.

In June, the Stanwood City Council voted to put the measure on the ballot. North County Fire has its headquarters in Stanwood.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; kbray@heraldnet.com.

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