Since this Tuesday is the fifth one in March, the Edmonds City Council will not meet this week. However, those who want their government-watching fix can attend the first organizational meeting of the Regional Fire Authority Planning Committee, which meets at 7 p.m. Tuesday in City Hall’s Brackett Room, 121 5th Ave. N.
Representatives from the following cities will be participating: Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Mukilteo and Woodway, along with Snohomish County Fire District No. 1.
The purpose will be to follow up on the group’s initial meeting in February, at which time municipalities decided they would explore the concept by forming a planning committee.
For cash-strapped municipalities, the regional fire concept — which by law must be approved by voters – is attractive because it take the cost of fire protection out of the municipalities’ budget and funds fire services through a separate tax levy just for the fire service. Municipalities can also impose an additional fee, known as a benefit charge, for the regional service. Such a fee is a variable rate based on the square footage and the amount of fire service provided to a home or business. (Businesses with a greater fire risk, such as manufacturing or companies handling hazardous materials, would pay more.)