Woodinville Fire & Rescue Merger Updates

Throughout King and Snohomish counties smaller fire agencies are partnering together to provide residents with better service and cost efficiencies. Woodinville Fire & Rescue and the Northshore Fire Department have such a partnership and want to make it permanent by merging into one agency.

The election will happen on April 27, 2021, and the new effective tax rate would apply in 2022. Because the Northshore Fire Department would merge into Woodinville Fire & Rescue, Northshore voters are the ones who would vote on this ballot measure.

Property owners in both communities would pay less for emergency services if the merger is approved. Based on 2021 home values, Woodinville Fire property owners would save a projected $0.07 per $1,000 of assessed property value or 5.6% of the effective tax rate. There also would be economies of scale in purchasing goods and services, and less overall cost per property taxpayer to fund stations and apparatus.

Both agencies already 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. Woodinville Fire and Northshore are approximately the same size and fund emergency services with a fire levy and fire benefit charge. They also share the same financial philosophy of maintaining a strong reserve fund to pay cash for capital items to save taxpayers money instead of financing these purchases.

Merging fire districts will improve emergency services for residents and businesses. Residents of the new fire district will continue to enjoy the same high level of emergency service from a dedicated team of professional firefighters. Working as one agency allows for better and more efficient deployment of these personnel and other resources. Merging also has the added benefits of providing better training opportunities for firefighters, stronger fire prevention programs in our local schools, and more community engagement.

Fire Chief Greg Ahearn is available to answer questions about the merger at (425) 483-7911 or GAhearn@wf-r.org. All communication is welcome and becomes part of the public record.

Merger updates