The Regional Fire Authority (RFA) passed by 51 votes and was certified last Wednesday.
While the vote was close, the measure only needed a simple 50% plus 1 vote.
The proposal was to consolidate the City of Yelm and two neighboring rural fire districts into a regional fire authority. SE Thurston Fire/EMS Chief Rita Hutcheson shared this information with the Yelm Community Blog:
KEY FACTS FOR FORMING A REGIONAL FIRE AUTHORITY (RFA)
Why a South East Thurston Fire Authority was proposed & what the Fire Authority will accomplish?
1. Thurston County Fire District #4 (Rainier), Yelm Fire District #2, and the City of Yelm sought voter approval to form the South East Thurston Fire Authority (SETFA) on the February 9, 2010 ballot.
2. Citizens living outside the Yelm City limits are currently paying $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value. This proposition WILL NOT change the current tax collection for citizens outside the city limits of Yelm.
3. Citizens living within the city limits of Yelm will see the same tax collection as district residents for fire services beginning in 2011. This will be an increase in taxes for Yelm City property owners.
4. City of Yelm citizens will be able to vote on all fire district ballot issues and will be eligible to run for Fire District Commissioner positions. Unlike a merger, which is dependent on a lead agency, South East Thurston Fire Authority proposed equal representation and a local voice for the citizens of Thurston County Fire District #4 (Rainier), Yelm Fire District #2, and the citizens of the City of Yelm now and into the future.
5. The South East Thurston Fire Authority Operations Plan provides for improved service. Service improvements include the capability to provide 24 hour staffing at more than one station which will help to decrease response times and will make it possible to meet National Fire Protection Agency standards that require at least 4 firefighters on a structure fire before entering a burning building. There will also be a reduction in duplication of administrative personnel and services.
6. The improvements (more 24 hour staffing and additional fire apparatus) will allow the fire department to apply for a reduction in the insurance rating for the City of Yelm, City of Rainier, and the unincorporated area outside the cities.
7. The new South East Thurston Fire Authority (SETFA) will replace the two (2) participating fire districts on July 1, 2010 with voter approved funding to take effect January 1, 2011.
8. Proposition 1 was on the February 9, 2010 ballot.
While there was a much back & forth on this measure in the local newspaper, this fire commissioner’s response was the best in derailing much of the misinformation. CLICK HERE
THIS WILL BE A GOOD THING FOR OUR AREA!