As seen in the Kirkland Reporter:
Annexation necessary for future of emergency services in Kirkland
Dec 09 2009, 4:50 PM
I have been a commissioner for King County Fire District No. 41 for 18 years and wish to share my perspective on annexation and the future of emergency services in our community.
Forty years ago, the Kirkland City Council and the Commissioners of Fire District No. 41 made a wise decision when they entered a joint operating agreement. They recognized the economies of scale in having one fire department serving the entire community. The resulting Greater Kirkland Fire Department is one of the best run, most cost-effective departments in the state.
If the council approves the annexation, the City of Kirkland will assume the assets of the district and the fire department will continue to deliver its excellent services. However, if it does not, this outstanding fire department will likely be split up and its economies of scale lost.
King County is committed to divesting itself of municipal services in the PAA and other urban islands. If Kirkland does not annex the PAA, the county will arrange for annexations by other cities. When those annexations occur, the assets of the fire district will go to those cities. Kirkland will face a hole in the fire department annual budget in excess of $2 million. Kirkland will also need to build a new station to serve Totem Lake, since the district’s station on Northeast 132nd will go to the annexing city.
Residents of the city and the PAA will be most benefitted by the continuation of the Greater Kirkland Fire Department with this annexation.
James Lloyd is the President of the Board of Commissioners for Fire District 41.