There is a proposition on the current ballot that, if supported, will combine the Snohomish County Fire District 1 and the Lynnwood City Fire Department under a new body, the Regional Fire Authority.
The RFA would allow for a more intuitive organization of physical resources across the entire area, and economy of scale. It would decrease the total expenses of the current organizations because there would not be a duplication of efforts and resources. This has been demonstrated already as there is already a limited sharing of some of the resources, and it has resulted in significant savings. The merge of the two organizations will also allow the continuation of joint training and a combination two groups of highly skilled personnel and ensure level quality standards across the organization. Finally, as the RFA is a separate entity from the city, it eliminates the possibility of competition between other city organizations dependent upon the same revenue pool. This means that the fire and emergency services will not need to suffer in the interest of a different organization.
I recognize there are valid concerns against formation of the RFA, The most significant seems to be the shift in how fire and paramedic services are currently funded for those within the Lynnwood city limits, and some uncertainty as to how this will impact residents' taxes overall, since the RFA would be funded through a levy. As a homeowner, I can certainly empathize with this concern. And while it appears the city expects to decrease taxes to make up for the RFA levy, it is not entirely clear whether this will entirely make up for the new tax. That said, I do believe that the increase in efficiency, along with the decrease in taxes directly to the city will balance in a way that ultimately allows the residents of Lynnwood a net positive result.
Ultimately, I support the creating of the RFA. I believe that it is in the best interest of the residents of the areas it would protect, as well as the Fire District and City Fire personnel.