Northshore Fire Department approves merger resolution; measure on April 27 Special Election Ballot

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Northshore Fire Station in Kenmore
Photo by Jerry Pickard

The Board of Fire Commissioners for the Northshore Fire Department approved a resolution asking voters to approve merging with Woodinville Fire and Rescue. 

The measure will be on the April 27, 2021 Special Election ballot for voters in Northshore's service area. The purpose of merging is to improve service for residents and provide cost-efficiencies for taxpayers.

"Many fire districts in King and Snohomish counties are merging or have merged to be more efficient," said David Maehren, who chairs the Northshore Board of Fire Commissioners. 
"We have a real opportunity to improve service and save money for taxpayers by making our existing partnership with Woodinville Fire and Rescue permanent with this merger."

The Northshore Fire Department and Woodinville Fire and Rescue are similar in size and fund emergency services with a fire levy and fire benefit charge.

The agencies share training programs for emergency personnel, administrative positions (fire chief, deputy chief, and a chief administrative officer) and joint departments, including finance, human resources, and IT. A merger would make these administrative efficiencies permanent.

Northshore Fire Station in Lake Forest Park
Photo by Jerry Pickard

Merging also would improve emergency operations for residents and businesses in both service areas. It would allow better deployment of emergency personnel and use of apparatus and equipment. Merging also reduces impacts to taxpayers for long-term for capital items (such as stations and apparatus) because costs are shared by more property owners.

Additional benefits include better training opportunities for firefighters, stronger fire prevention programs in local schools, more community engagement, and economies of scale in purchasing goods and services. There also is likely to be a cost savings for taxpayers in both communities, and that information will be shared as soon as data is available.

"As call volumes increase so does the cost to provide service," said Chief Greg Ahearn, who serves as Fire Chief for both agencies. "We need to find ways to be more efficient so we can protect the level and quality of emergency services that our communities need. Merging does just that."

The plan is that Northshore will merge into Woodinville Fire and Rescue. By state law, this means the measure would only appear on the ballots of voters in Northshore's service area (Lake Forest Park and Kenmore). The agencies would develop a new name that reflects all three communities if the merger is approved by voters.

More information can be found on the fire districts' websites at www.northshorefire.com or www.wf-r.org. Chief Greg Ahearn is available to answer questions about the proposed merger at 425-354-1780 or, GAhearn@northshorefire.com




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