Letter | Fall City Fire Department merger will increase emergency service level, maintain local control

[Letters doe not represent the views of Living Snoqualmie or its employees. Letters supporting candidates or regarding ballot initiatives can be sent to info@livingsnoqualmie.com.]

Dear Editor,

Fall City Voters, you have the chance on April 23rd to increase your level of fire and emergency service, save money on property taxes and maintain local control of your fire service.

Consolidation is a major trend in today’s fire service and many local fire districts have obtained economies of scale and improved operational effectiveness by joining together. 

The special election in April proposes Fire District 27 (Fall City) merge into Fire District 10. Both fire districts have similar demographics, share common geography, and already work closely together to coordinate emergency response: the combination is a natural fit.

With the merger, Fall City would finally be protected by three full time firefighters 24/7 and our volunteer program would also be enhanced.  77% of taxpaying parcels will pay less taxes, resulting in an overall annual savings of almost $300,000.  Our current commissioners will join the district 10 board of commissioners which will maintain local control.

Even with our current reduced levels of staffing and training, Fall City’s Fire Chief and Commissioner’s have stated, in public meetings, that our budget is unsustainable long term.

By voting Yes in the April 23rd special election, Fire District 27 voters can enhance their fire and emergency services, raising them to the same standard as the rest of the county – all at a reduced cost.  Vote Yes!

Sincerely,

Joe Springer, 15-year Fall City FD Firefighter

Comments

  1. John Reeves says

    Dear Editor, (REBUTTAL with additions to biased submission)
    Fall City Voters, you have the chance on April 23rd to increase your level of fire and emergency service by a miniscule level. A third full time fire fighter will be on shift vs. capable volunteers (volunteers are highly-trained and many times multiple volunteers make this 4-5 FFs on duty) filling the third position. Much of the time the position is already filled by a FT FF. Some will save money on property taxes, and some, especially businesses will pay more: and maintain NO local control of your fire service. FD 10 has 4X the voters of FD27. FD10 Board positions are at large positions and there is no guarantee even ONE commissioner will be from the Fall City area with the voting base and District Headquarters in Issaquah.
    Consolidation is a major trend in today’s fire service and many local fire districts have obtained economies of scale and improved operational effectiveness by joining together. The idea of the Big Guy swallowing up the little guy is a major trend in business, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, and yes fire departments. This is why this ‘John the citizen’ guy speaks up for the little guy. The folks in Fall City are being browbeat by fire employees from throughout this state on this issue, because Big Fire Agencies are Good for BIG Fire Agencies. One problem, we are Fall City, we’re small, and we the people of FC (most) like it that way.
    The special election in April proposes Fire District 27 (Fall City) merge into Fire District 10. Both fire districts have similar demographics, share common geography, and already work closely together to coordinate emergency response: the combination is a natural fit. With one big difference, people in Fall City choose to live in Fall City because it is NOT Issaquah and Sammamish. Fall City is different. Drive through the three towns and tell me there is no difference.
    With the merger, Fall City would finally be protected by three full time firefighters 24/7 and our volunteer program would also be enhanced. 77% of taxpaying parcels will pay less taxes, resulting in an overall annual savings of almost $300,000. The median tax payer will save $63. 50% of parcels will save less than $63.22, and some will pay more. Our current 3 commissioners will join the district 10 board of 5 commissioners (temporarily 8 total) which will maintain local control…. Until they are voted off one by one. FD 10 will return to their normal 5 Commissioners as our local 3 will face elections in the larger district as their terms end. The likelihood of Fall City representation when Fall City represents 20% of the vote is low. Even in the short term the 3 FC reos are outvoted 5 to 3
    Even with our current reduced levels of staffing and training, Fall City’s Fire Chief and Commissioner’s have stated, in public meetings, that our budget is unsustainable long term. This helps our commissioners support their agenda of merging into FD10. When asked specifics at public meetings regarding Fall City finances the FD27 commissioners do not know the numbers. Financial documents supplied (to JSR) by Fall City FD 27 in January show a CASH balance of $1.7 Million. Granted some of this money is earmarked for rainy day, equipment replacement, and maintenance; and does not represent the average balance as this numbers fluctuates up and down throughotu the year, but it’s close. The fact the Chief has maintained a tight budget should not be used against the continuance of FD27. FD27 has seen financial issues in the past, many years ago, the board and firefighters are using the excellent management of funds over the past 10 years to further their narrative ‘merger is the only answer’.
    By voting Yes in the April 23rd special election, Fire District 27 voters can marginally enhance their fire and emergency services ,FC already meets standard as the rest of the county 99.9% of the time (again, show me the Data)– all at a reduced cost of $63 dollars to you. We just need your firehouse, equipment, and cash reserves. Vote Yes! I get a raise.

    There is no coming back, once merged FD27 is gone FOREVER.

    Sincerely,
    Joe Springer, 15-year Fall City FD Firefighter
    I don’t live in Fall City and when someone disagrees with me at a public meeting I tell them to STFU.

    AND additional commentary by John Reeves 13-year taxpayer in FD27, 30year taxpayer in FD10.

    We appreciate the work and service of our firefighters and chief. It is unfortunate we the people must speak up to balance a 1-sided presentation of the issues.

    Where are Fire District 10’s financials?

    Vote however you like folks. I have not made my mind up 100% because I have not seen all the Data, I’ve only heard only narratives. Until I see unbiased presentation of data – I will be voting NO.

    • Joe Springer says

      I believe the Fall City Fire Chief is a very unbiased man who has lived in this town for his entire life and served the citizens for over 3 decades. The information he is presenting is based on facts and community needs long term.

  2. Curious…was any monetary transaction provided for this endorsement?
    Who will stand by these assertions?

    Matt Larson allegedly wants to gobble up Fall City, included water source Lake Alice. And build more, despite the fact we are running out of water. Demand (and more development- a Larson thing) has already outpaced supply. The Lake Alice HOA already turned down Larson, so Larson’s going to take it with your vote. And devil. And more families equals higher taxes (how much more can we Washingtonians handle?).

    Danna McCall writes what Matt directs her to write.
    Don’t fall for this.

    • Joe Springer says

      No money changed hands for this. I am greatly affected by what happens to our fire department. I am also very educated on the matter. For those who aren’t sure how to vote, please contact the fire chief at fall city or visit the king27fire.com website for the published and accepted information regarding this merger vote.

    • Michael Webb says

      Matt Larsen is the Mayor of Snoqualmie and has nothing to do with the operations of Fire Districts 27 or 10. This is a Fire District Merger; Why do you feel Matt Larsen or water rights are relevant?

  3. Jon Wiseman says

    This merger would greatly improve service! There is nothing minuscule about it. Washington State Law requires three firefighters on scene of a structure fire to perform a rescue. Two simply isn’t enough to perform the actual amount of work required to make a difference. On the medical side of things, it is also labor intensive to perform CPR effectively. One person to perform compressions, one person to perform ventilations and one person to run the defib and rotate into compressions. A two rescuer model on any day of the year is sub-standard.

    At Eastside Fire and Rescue three career rescuers is the minimum standard on an Engine. Our volunteer program adds additional personnel in excess of that standard. Volunteers are the fourth responder on engines when they are available and have the opportunity to staff aid units adding two more rescuers. This is the difference between exceeding safety standards or struggling to meet them. Better service by far!

    I think Joe’s real letter is spot on and I think he would know. He has served in that community for 15 years.

  4. John Reeves says

    Money WILL change hands. FD27s cash $1.4MM to $1.7MM will go to FD 10. FD27’s Fire House which Fall Citizens will comtinue.to pay the bond on for another 2 year will go to FD27 all of FD27’s assets will go to FD10 including trucks to printing paper.

    Where are District 10’s financial starements?

    • Joe Springer says

      All of which will still be controlled by the fire district which Fall City residents reside and vote in. The name on the letterhead will change as well as an increase in staffing and service level. Nothing is being given away. Our station will stay in Fall City as will all of the equipment, with the exception of the equipment that is beyond its service life. The aging front line equipment will be replaced by FD 10.
      As far as FD 10’s financial statements, I believe that you can get those on their website.

      Facts will outweigh the emotions and lies that are being spread about this merger.

  5. Travis Wetherbee says

    How big of a raise will the FF’s receive as part of this merger? That is something that should be talked about. Can we talk about that? How big of a raise or retirement package does the Chief get as part of the merger? Secondly their (FD10’s) financials are being with held until after the vote! With the excuse that the person I charge of getting that info is “out sick”! Why is that? If this were in the business world and a companies financials were being withheld then there would be no merger at all. This citizens that reside in FC will lose control once their fire department after the 4 year term is up. There is no way to outvote the other cities residents. So essentially the FC residents get representation for 4 years. The citizens of FC aren’t charged for trips to the hospital. With this merger they would be. So that $63 in savings will be gone pretty quickly. Are you really going to give up control over $63 a year?

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