City Council urged to slow down review of possible deal with Fire District 1

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Conflicting numbers regarding costs, and concerns about a fast-moving process that citizens don’t understand, highlighted Tuesday night’s exploration by the Edmonds City Council regarding the pros and cons of entering into an agreement with Fire District 1 to provide fire services for the City of Edmonds.

Citizens testifying about the project — including two current City Council candidates — ranged from outright opposition to a plea that the Council needs to spend more time considering the ramifications of a possible contract for fire services with Fire District 1. “We need to slow this process down,” said Council candidate Diane Buckshnis, noting that during her campaign doorbelling efforts she has spoken with many citizens who are confused about the issue.

Representatives from the City of Mountlake Terrace were present to speak to their own positive experiences. Mountlake Terrace Mayor Pro Tem Laura Sonmore noted that the city has saved $600,000 a year by contracting with Fire District 1, and has also seen increased response time and community involvement. But Council Candidate Lora Petso commented that the deal being negotiated by Edmonds “is not the deal that Mountlake Terrace got” and urged the council to reject the agreement as currently being discussed.

Based on questions raised by Council President D.J. Wilson and others at last night’s meeting, city staff will continue to crunch the numbers and report back at the next City Council meeting Tuesday, Oct. 20. Meanwhile, citizens are encouraged to review the extensive information regarding the Fire District 1 proposal that is already available on the City’s website.

Citizens can also watch a rebroadcast of last night’s council meeting daily on Comcast channel 21 and Verizon channel 39 at 7 a.m., noon and 7 p.m.

In other action Tuesday night, the council:

  • Voted unanimously to oppose Initiative 1033, the Tim Eyman-sponsored measure that will appear on the November ballot. Initiative 1033 is designed to limit growth of certain state, county and city revenue to annual inflation and population growth, not including voter-approved revenue increases.
  • Voted 5-1 to approve a Planning Board recommendation to create a new mixed use zoning classification for Firdale Village. The rezone would allow the development of  a neighborhood featuring both multi-family housing and commercial enterprises, with possible inclusion of environmentally friendly features.

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