From a Monroe Fire District 3 news release.
The Board of Fire Commissioners for Monroe Fire District 3 unanimously passed a resolution asking voters to approve merging with Snohomish County Fire District 7. The measure, approved by all five commissioners, will be on the August 2nd Primary Election ballot.
“This is the next step to finalizing a partnership that is more cost-effective for taxpayers in both fire districts,” said Monroe Fire Chief Jamie Silva. “We are stronger working together.”
Fire District 3 has been working for some time to find a cost-effective way to maintain emergency service levels for local residents. Declining property values during the last recession impacted the amount of revenue the agency had to provide emergency services. Voters approved an excess levy to maintain service levels, but it expires at the end of the year.
Many fire districts are merging to create economies of scale and improve efficiencies. Fire Districts 3 and 7 already share a maintenance and repair facility, and a community resource paramedic to reduce non-emergency calls to 911.
In January, the fire districts combined administrative functions to reduce job overlap, which has improved emergency operations for both agencies.
Fire District 3 has gained an accounting and human resources department, as well as a public safety educator.
Fire District 7 now has a fire prevention division and Fire Marshall to improve public safety.
There are also more resources for firefighter training and managing large-scale emergencies.
Voter approval for the merger would reduce the bureaucracy and costs associated with running two organizations, as well.
If approved by voters, the tax rate for property owners in Fire District 3 will decrease from a projected $2.10 to a projected $1.98 per $1,000 based on 2016 assessed valuations. Property owners in Fire District 7 are not required to vote on the merger and it will not affect their tax rate.
The combined fire districts would serve approximately 110,000 residents in south central and eastern Snohomish County.
To learn more about the merger, visit Fire District 3’s web site at www.monroefire.org.
Information for Fire District 7 residents can be found on its web site at www.snofire7.org.
Monroe Fire District 3 serves the residents of Snohomish County Fire District #3 and the City of Monroe. The service area protected by Monroe Fire District 3 is 55 square miles and serves an estimated population of 30,000 residents.
In 2015, the fire district responded to 3,832 calls, 68% of which were EMS-related. The fire district utilizes a combination of career and volunteer firefighters to efficiently deliver the best possible service to local residents.
Snohomish County Fire District 7 provides fire and life safety services to 77,000 people over 55 square miles, including the City of Mill Creek.
In 2015 emergency personnel responded to just under 6,000 calls, 81% of which were for Emergency Medical Service (EMS).
Taxpayers in Fire District 7 have built the most advanced emergency response system in Snohomish County with highly-trained personnel, facilities, apparatus, and rescue programs.