SAMMAMISH, Wash. - City leaders are discussing a proposal to create a new fire department.
Currently, Eastside Fire and Rescue provides services to Sammamish and other cities in the area. City spokesperson Tim Larson said the city pays too much for the service and is considering other options.
“We feel that we subsidize the other partners and we want a better arrangement. Nobody wants to be a cash cow,” said Larson.
Eastside Fire and Rescue reports the city of Sammamish accounts for roughly 30 percent of its funding. Deputy chief Greg Tryon said cities typically save money by using Eastside Fire.
“The way we look at it they are going to cost their citizens more for the same level of service,” said Tryon.
If Sammamish created a new department, Tryon said Eastside would have to lay off firefighters and it could impact service.
According to the city, the start-up cost for a new fire department would be nearly $2 million. Larson said that covers transitional cost and benefits. He added the city already owns the fire stations and trucks, which are used by Eastside Fire and Rescue. The new department would have to open by 2015.
The city is still negoatiating with Eastside Fire and Rescue.
The city council will make a final decision on the new fire department November 12.