A city manager recommendation on how Sammamish should proceed with Eastside fire services has been postponed to early November.
City Manager Ben Yazici was scheduled to make a recommendation Monday as to whether the city should remain partnered with Eastside Fire & Rescue or drop out and contract elsewhere. It was ultimately decided the council would add an Oct. 29 meeting for further community input, with a manager recommendation and council decision following on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, respectively, according to Communications Director Tim Larson.
Central to the decision will be whether the council believes the cost of partnership is worth the level of service the city receives.
Following a five-year pattern of increases in fire service costs, the city hired a consulting firm in 2012 to study the value of its partnership to Eastside. They additionally authorized a Technical Advisory Board of three former council members to work with the firm.
Redmond-based FCS Group recommended the council withdraw from Eastside, determining that Sammamish supplied 28 percent of the organization’s funding but received only 18 percent of its service.
“We do not think that the partnership governance model will adequately serve the long-term interests of the Sammamish tax payer and its citizens,” Board member Lee Fellinge told the Council at the June 2012 meeting. “The EF&R partnership model will not provide the desired quality of governance nor appropriately control long-term cost, nor provide needed innovation.”
But in September 2012, three months after the recommendation was made, the council voted to allow Yazici to continue negotiating with the fire department through July 2013.
Eastside Fire & Rescue serves the communities of Sammamish, Issaquah, May Valley, North Bend, Preston, Tiger Mt. and Wildnerness Rim. They have three stations on the Sammamish Plateau.