EFR agreement staying in place

May 13, 2014

By Administrator

New: May 13, 2:43 p.m.

Councilwoman Nancy Whitten raised the idea of re-opening parts of the Eastside Fire & Rescue agreement, but none of the other Sammamish City Council members were interested.
The agency is in the midst of becoming a nonprofit organization, which would allow some administrative changes that will not affect service to residents.
Whitten noted May 6 that doing so could allow the city to address some concerns she had raised when the new interlocal agreement involving EFR was approved in January.
The agreement is a contract between Sammamish, Issaquah, North Bend and Fire Districts 10 and 38. It forms the basis for EFR, which provides fire and emergency services to the five partners.
When it was approved, Whitten noted that three parts of it, taken together, could spell trouble for Sammamish. Notably, the term is for seven years, the city cannot drop out before the end of the term, and it could be overridden in budget decisions. As a result, Sammamish could end up saddled with a long-term expense the city does not agree with, and not have any way out of it.
She said changing any one of the three would help resolve the situation.
No one else on the council was interested in changing the agreement. They noted that any change would need to involve unanimous approval by the other partners, something which might be unlikely after the two years of negotiations it took to forge the current agreement.
“We are now partners,” said Councilwoman Kathleen Huckabay. “Our job is to make the best of that partnership.”

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