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Posted on: February 12, 2019

Regional Fire Authority measure forwarded to April ballot

It's official: voters in the City of Marysville and Snohomish County Fire District 12 will decide on the formation of a Regional Fire Authority (RFA) in the April 23 Special Election. 

On Monday evening, the Marysville City Council unanimously approved forwarding an RFA measure to voters. In January, the Fire District Board of Commissioners also unanimously approved the same proposal to form an RFA between the Fire District and Marysville. 

An RFA is a special purpose district with independent taxing authority that provides fire and emergency medical services. In November, a planning committee unanimously concluded an RFA would best serve residents and taxpayers in the greater Marysville area because it would provide a sustainable funding model, help meet increased demand and enhance operational efficiencies for fire and emergency services. 

"Our elected officials have taken a giant leap forward for the future of public safety. Forming a Regional Fire Authority is a great option for our community and our citizens," Fire Chief Martin McFalls said. 

Fire and emergency medical services are some of the most important services jurisdictions provide to residents. Marysville and the Fire District have delivered these services under a joint operating agreement as the Marysville Fire District for more than 25 years. Since that time, Marysville has grown four times larger in size and the population is more than five times greater. Calls for emergency service have also increased nearly 50 percent since 2011 and the Marysville Fire District is projected to operate with a funding deficit in 2019, as it has for several years. 

The RFA planning committee made up of City Council and Fire District 12 Board members spent last year studying the RFA proposal. The Marysville Fire District's current service area (which includes Marysville, Fire District 12, Seven Lakes, Lakewood, portions of the Tulalip Reservation and unincorporated Snohomish County) would not change under the RFA proposal. If voters approve, the new RFA service model would be funded by a property tax of $1.45 per $1,000 of assessed value, or $435 annually for a $300,000 home. 

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