After months of planning and negotiations, the proposed merger between Northshore Fire
District and Woodinville Fire and Rescue took a turn this week when Northshore Commissioners voted to cease support for the merger.
Because the commission had already voted to place the proposed merger on the ballot, registered voters in Lake Forest Park and Kenmore will still have the option to approve or reject the merger, Prop. 1, on the April 27th ballot.
The union claims the proposed merger has been a contentious one, with IAFF local unions representing Northshore Fire Fighters Local 2459, as well as Woodinville, Bothell and Shoreline opposing the merger.
According to the union, first responders who serve the community believe the merger offers no increase to emergency services, proposes a budget and structure that is unsustainable, merges two jurisdictions that do not have contiguous borders, and reduces the wages of our Northshore Firefighters.
At last week’s meeting Northshore Fire District Commissioners voted that the, “Northshore Board of Commissioners cease any and all efforts in moving forward with the consolidation with
Woodinville Fire and Rescue until such a time that they are working with the support and cooperation of the Northshore Firefighters Local 2459.”
Northshore Fire District Commissioner Rick Verlinda who voted to oppose the merger said, “The good news is we all remain committed to promoting the safety of our community and making the best use of every tax dollar. I look forward to collaborating to find a solution together.”
Lieutenant Jeremiah Ingersoll of the Northshore Firefighters and IAFF Local 2459 President said, “Our firefighters have been strong proponents of thoughtful mergers in our region to improve service and save tax dollars. Unfortunately, Prop. 1 does not do that. We are thrilled that the commissioners are ready to work together.”
Local firefighters, community leaders, and neighbors still plan to run an opposition campaign since the measure will appear on ballots being mailed by King County Elections on April 7th.
“We want to make sure that Lake Forest Park and Kenmore voters understand that our community is united in opposition to Prop. 1. We urge them to join us in voting No,” said Lieutenant Ingersoll.