Merger Update: Northshore Fire Department Board Approves Resolution

The Board of Fire Commissioners for the Northshore Fire Department approved a resolution asking voters to approve merging with Woodinville Fire & Rescue. The purpose of merging is to improve service for residents and provide cost-efficiencies for taxpayers.

The ballot measure calls for Northshore to merge into Woodinville Fire & Rescue. By state law, this means the measure would only appear on the ballots of voters in Northshore’s service area (Lake Forest Park and Kenmore). The election date is April 27, 2021. If the merger is approved by voters, the agencies would develop a new name that reflects all three communities.

Merging would improve emergency operations for residents and businesses in both service areas. It would allow better deployment of emergency personnel and use of apparatus and equipment. Merging also reduces impacts to taxpayers for long-term for capital items (such as stations and apparatus) because costs are shared by more property owners.

Additional benefits include better training opportunities for firefighters, stronger fire prevention programs in local schools, more community engagement, and economies of scale in purchasing goods and services. There also is likely to have cost savings for taxpayers in both communities, and that information will be shared as soon as data is available.

The 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. A merger would make these administrative efficiencies permanent.

Woodinville Fire & Rescue and Northshore are similar in size and fund emergency services the same way with a fire levy and fire benefit charge. More information can be found on Woodinville Fire & Rescue’s website at www.wf-r.org. Chief Greg Ahearn is available to answer questions about the proposed merger at (425) 483-7911 or gahearn@wf-r.org.