Sammamish extends negotiations with Eastside Fire & Rescue
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
September 20, 2012 · Updated 1:37 PM
The City of Sammamish will continue to negotiate to remain a partner with Eastside Fire & Rescue — at least through next summer.
The City Council unanimously voted Monday to allow City Manager Ben Yazici to continue working with EF&R partners to revise the Interlocal Agreement up until July 1, 2013 and not immediately pursue other fire service options.
“Since the partners are willing to (negotiate), they’re showing a good faith effort to do it, I think we should show our good faith effort towards them,” Yazici told the council.
Partners include Issaquah, North Bend, District 10 and District 38.
If the parties don’t reach an agreement by the July date, Sammamish can pursue a list of recommendations to leave the partnership it received from a consulting group this past June.
The study determined Sammamish’s annual contribution to EF&R has grown from $4.9 million in 2007 to $5.9 million in 2012.
The FCS group, along with a Technical Advisory Board made up of three former City Council members — Kathleen Huckabay, Lee Fellinge and Ron Haworth — recommended that Sammamish withdraw from its partnership with EF&R and simply contract with the organization for services. If the contracting model didn’t work with EF&R, FCS recommended that the city pursue contracting services with Redmond. If that didn’t work, it advised the city to start its own fire department.
Yacizi will continue to work with partners of EF&R to achieve a model that fully addresses concerns of the consults and the Technical Advisory Board.
The city is looking for a funding model that includes a 50/50 split between assessed value and calls for service; retention of existing veto powers; crediting emergency medical service levy collections to each individual partner; basing equipment/facilities contributions on usage; retention of city ownership of capital assists with maintenance responsibility maintained by the city and an 18-month notice of termination.
“I cannot promise you the change we’re going to come up with is going to be 100 percent of our satisfaction,” Yacizi told the council. “I can promise you that will do our best to make sure our concerns are addressed in that process.”
The City’s agreement with EF&R for fire protection and emergency medical expires Dec. 31, 2014. The contract would be automatically renewed for another seven years, if notice wasn’t provided January 2014.
Contact Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor Kevin Endejan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-391-0363, ext. 5054.