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Asked a question 10 months ago

The fire districts in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee are close to asking voters to approve a merger. This would come with a tax increase — and one seems inevitable with or without a merger — but fire officials say service to the public is better with a single regional fire authority covering the Wenatchee Valley. The two departments have responded together to many of the same incidents for years, but used different policies and had separate budgets. They’ve been working as one department for over a year under Chief Brian Brett and fire commissioners say the teamwork is better than ever. The merger could be on the August primary ballot in the form of a property tax increase specific to a Wenatchee Valley regional fire authority. Voters in Chelan County Fire District 1 would see their property tax rate increase from $1.31 per $1,000 assessed value to $1.50 and Douglas County Fire District 2 voters would see an increase of $1.29 to $1.50/$1,000. Brett said each district needs $1.50/$1,000 to pay for more firefighters and equipment. If the merger is rejected, the districts could come back to voters with separate ballot measures asking for an increase up to $1.50/$1,000. So the cost to voters could ultimately be the same. As far as the fun stuff (governance), the current plan is to have six fire commissioners: three from the west side of the river and three from the east. This could obviously result in tie votes and stalemates, which is why most voting bodies have an odd number, but they say they can change the even numbered format if it becomes a problem. Are you in favor of a merger?

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