Regional Fire Authority Annexation Review
In February of 2016, the City Council decided to set aside review of the RFA annexation. While the Council recognized the significant and diligent work done by the RFA committee, staff, and members of the Kent RFA, they determined that the best course of action for now was to focus on keeping the Tukwila Fire Department within the City of Tukwila. If this proves to not be feasible in the future, then the work of the RFA committee will be invaluable in deciding alternatives for fire fighting and emergency medical services to the community.
The process of analysis and review is moving to the City Council now that the Steering Committee has recommended annexation to the Kent Regional Fire Authority. The City Council will begin its review of the benefits and costs in 2016 and will continue public engagement on this issue. A December 2015 briefing binder that summarizes the information and presentations to the Steering Committee as well as City Council updates from 2015, is available for review .
On November 23, 2015, a majority of members of the Regional Fire Authority Annexation Steering Committee recommended that the City annex to the Kent Regional Fire Authority. Their recommendation recognized that there are pros and cons to the decision but that the positives outweigh the negatives.
A project schedule will be presented to Council in January 2016 that will outline options and costs for moving forward.
12/7/15 Council Meeting – Annexation Review
Annexation Steering Committee Overview
The Regional Fire Authority Annexation Steering Committee began meeting in March 2015 and per direction from the City Council will investigate and discuss potential issues and impacts associated with an annexation of the Tukwila Fire Department to the Kent Regional Fire Authority (RFA). The Committee will meet once a month with the goal of having a recommendation to the City Council in November 2015.
Among the major issues under review are the cost impacts on taxpayers in the City, the type of representation the community of Tukwila may have in the governance of the RFA, the ownership and future of Tukwila’s existing fire service facilities and assets, and the type and quality of service that would be provided by the RFA to the Tukwila community, compared to the current level of service provided by the municipal fire department.
Agendas and Meeting Materials
- March 11, 2015 Agenda Packet
- April 8, 2015 Agenda Packet
- May 13, 2015 Agenda Packet
- June 10, 2015 Agenda Packet
- July 8, 2015 Agenda Packet
- September 9, 2015 Agenda Packet
- October 14, 2015 Agenda Packet
- October 28, 2015 Agenda Packet
- November 18, 2015 Agenda Packet
In the spring of 2014, the City of Tukwila formed the 2014 Fire Exploratory Committee (FEC) to research, evaluate and recommend options for providing fire and life safety services in Tukwila. The FEC was comprised of representatives from the City Council, the City Administrator, Fire administration, the firefighters union and the City’s Finance Department. After considering all available service delivery options and potential partnership opportunities, the Committee recommended the City further explore the feasibility of annexing to the Kent Regional Fire Authority (RFA).
The discussions about joining the Kent RFA are not new. In 2010, a similar evaluation process also resulted in the recommendation that the City join the Kent RFA, but discussions between the City and Kent RFA were put on hold due to Kent’s focus at that time on negotiations with SeaTac. The Kent RFA has been in operation since 2010, and has cleared many of the early organizational challenges associated with the creation of a new governmental entity. The Kent RFA is respected across the region for its successes, leadership and experience and the City and Kent RFA already enjoy a highly successful relationship due to participation in the South King County Regional Training Consortium.
Many communities regionally and nationally have pursued consolidation strategies as a cost-effective way to deliver high-quality fire protection and emergency medical services through combined resources. An RFA is an entity authorized by a state law that allows the voters of an area to consider fire service consolidation and regionalization of services. This is done through the creation of a special purpose district, a municipal corporation with independent taxing authority to levy a Fire Benefit Charge, an option not available to cities.
On September 15, the Council unanimously agreed with the FEC’s recommendation to continue pursuing potential annexation to the Kent RFA, and directed the Administration to form a steering committee comprised of representatives from the City administration, Council, the Kent RFA and the community. This committee is currently being formed and will begin meeting on a regular basis starting in December. The committee was also explicitly tasked with developing and implementing a robust community outreach effort to ensure broad awareness of this potential action.
Questions can be directed to FireCommittee@TukwilaWa.gov.
9/15/14 Council Meeting – FEC Update and Recommendation
RFA Annexation Study Email List