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Vote on joint Enumclaw fire department is off until November

Residents of Enumclaw and the surrounding area will wait a bit longer to decide if they would like to combine their joint fire department into a single entity governed by King County Fire Protection District 28.

Plans have been in the works to ask city voters if they would like to annex into the rural fire district; at the same time, rural voters would be asked if they would accept their city counterparts. The vote was originally planned for April, pushed back to August and has now been rescheduled for November.

“It’s a fairly detailed process and everybody wants to make sure it’s done right,” Fire Chief Joe Clow said, explaining the latest delay in the vote. Putting off the vote until November doesn’t impact the ability to the department’s professional firefighters and volunteers to respond to fires or medical emergencies.

“Operationally, we’re not affected,” Clow said.

Currently, city and county residents are protected by the jointly-operated Enumclaw/Fire District 28. Both city and rural residents pay for the departmental operation, while the city maintains the decision-making authority. The district has input through its elected, three-member board of commissioners.

In preparing for the fall vote, members of the Enumclaw City Council recently authorized an “annexation feasibility study.” That effort will look at the economic impacts association with annexation; the transfer of real estate, equipment and other assets that would come with annexation; and both the short- and long-term impacts on service that would result.

It’s hoped the feasibility study will be completed in three weeks, according to City Administrator Mike Thomas. The cost of the study is $12,500.

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