In a unanimous vote on Nov. 13, the City Council agreed to continue efforts to finalize a new partnership agreement with Eastside Fire & Rescue (EF&R). The new agreement, the details of which are still being negotiated, would reduce the city's share of EF&R costs by over $400,000 per year, or about $2.8 million over the course of a seven-year deal.
Among other things, the city is asking for the following:
- Instead of being based solely on assessed valuation, the funding formula should give weight to "calls for service."
- Changes in EF&R's governance and membership should require a unanimous vote of the partners.
- Partners will retain ownership and title to their respective fire stations, vehicles and other equipment.
- EF&R should form an "operations committee" composed of staff from each of the partners. The committee would serve in an advisory capacity to the EF&R Board.
Since the city is obligated to make a decision about staying with EF&R by the end of January, 2014, the city is asking the other partners to finalize the new agreement by January 17. If an agreement is not reached, the resolution approved by the City Council on Nov. 12 gives the city manager authority to begin forming a city fire department that would be operational in 2015. The city's current agreement with EF&R runs through 2014.