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District 38 mulls new way to share costs

Forming a regional fire authority is a new way to share costs and responsibility among partners of Eastside Fire and Rescue (EFR). Fire Protection District No. 38 commissioners last week began looking into the pros and cons of the arrangement.

EFR is a partnership between the cities of North Bend, Carnation, Sammamish and Issaquah and fire districts 38 and 10. The organization's contract with each of the entities expires at the end of the year. During recent months, the partners have discussed several options for creating a new set of bylaws. A regional fire authority is one possible model, said Ron Pedee, District 38 commissioner.

"We wanted to look at a regional fire authority as another possibility," Pedee said. "We didn't really know what the pros and cons were."

To answer some of those questions, EFR Chief Lee Soptich arranged for members of the state's first regional fire authority to share their experience at District 38's March 7 meeting.

The cities of Auburn, Algona and Pacific this year became the first in the state to form a regional fire authority. Each city was facing financial difficulties and found that by partnering under the umbrella of a fire authority, they were able to save money and share responsibilities.

"The funding issues are what drove it," said Auburn Deputy Fire Chief Michael Gerber.

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