January 24, 2014
New: Jan. 24, 11:56 a.m.
It’s finally over. After more than two years of negotiations, an agreement is in place to preserve Eastside Fire & Rescue for at least another seven years.
On a 5-2 vote, the Sammamish City Council approved the new agreement Jan. 21, but not before dissenting council members Tom Odell and Kathleen Huckabay admonished the firefighters’ union. Read more
January 18, 2014
New: Jan. 18, 12:14 p.m.
Although approval on a new agreement for Eastside Fire & Rescue seems assured, two members of the Sammamish City Council raised concerns during a Jan. 14 council meeting.
The city has been negotiating with the other members of EFR for several months. The main issue involves a funding formula, which Sammamish officials say caused the city to subsidize fire service for other members. Read more
January 15, 2014
New: Jan. 15, 10:17 a.m.
On Jan. 7, Sammamish began what could be the end game of its drawn-out negotiations with other members of Eastside Fire and Rescue.
While some city council members advocated making a few last-second changes, others were quick to discourage them.
After years of complaints and months of intense discussions and brinksmanship, Sammamish secured a new funding model for the organization. The old model resulted in Sammamish subsidizing fire coverage for other members of EFR, city leaders complained. Read more
December 18, 2013
New: Dec. 18, 12:24 p.m.
The Eastside Fire and Rescue Board did everything except sing “Auld Lang Syne” at its Dec. 12 meeting.
The board unanimously voted to accept the proposed funding model changes. That was followed with a unanimous vote to approve a revised EFR governing agreement. They even took a short break during the meeting to celebrate with glasses of sparkling cider and holiday cookies.
After months of vociferous disagreements over funding issues, the group joked and teased one another. Read more
November 21, 2013
New: Nov. 21, 11:56 a.m.
Sammamish will stay with Eastside Fire and Rescue, provided it gets a funding change and at least a few changes to the governance model.
The City Council voted unanimously Nov. 12 to accept a proposed change to the funding model, which looks to save Sammamish more than $411,000 per year.
The council also voted on a series of changes it would like to see made to the agreement that underpins the partnership. Read more
November 8, 2013
New: Nov. 8, 11:47 a.m.
If there’s smoke rising from behind the Sammamish Library, it might just be nothing more than firefighter training.
Firefighters from Eastside Fire & Rescue will be conducting a series of drills for the next two months leading up to a big burn of the Kellman mansion, the large pink house off 228th Avenue near City Hall and the library.
“We’re trying to get as much out of this building as we possibly can,” said Josie Williams, EFR spokeswoman. Read more
August 20, 2013
New: Aug. 20, 12:53 p.m.
Come late September, the Eastside Fire & Rescue board will be right back where it was in June — having to decide on a funding model that meets the needs of all members.
The difference will be that in eight weeks the group will have agreed on two things: what value they need to offer to retain members and how they maintain a stable organization. The process won’t be easy, said facilitator Neville Wallace, with Online Business Systems of Portland. Read more
July 21, 2013
New: July 21, 11:16 a.m.
After years of simmering tensions with Eastside Fire & Rescue, the city of Sammamish commissioned a study to find the cost of starting its own fire department.
The answer: about $6 million. In 2013, Sammamish paid $6.04 million to get fire service from EFR.
City Council members were quick to point out during a July 15 meeting that there may be less expensive ways to run their own department, including relocating and possibly shrinking a fire station. Read more
June 21, 2013
New: June 21, 2 p.m.
The Eastside Fire & Rescue board isn’t really known for unanimous decisions when discussing the partners’ funding model. But at a June 13 regular meeting, they all agreed it was time to look at hiring an independent facilitator.
EFR is a consortium of Sammamish, Issaquah, North Bend and Fire Districts 10 and 38, but Sammamish officials have called the funding model unfair because it bases payments on the value of property rather than the number of service calls. Read more
April 10, 2013
New: April 10, 2:09 p.m.
Negotiations to reduce the amount Sammamish pays for fire service have been less than fruitful. So at is April 2 meeting, the City Council formally authorized City Manager Ben Yazici to study options outside of remaining a member of Eastside Fire & Rescue.
“We are giving (Yazici) the OK to go ahead and examine the alternatives,” said Mayor Tom Odell. Read more