Fire & EMS Annexation

Currently, the City of Mill Creek contracts with Snohomish Regional Fire & Rescue (SRFR) for fire and emergency medical service (EMS). The contract expires at the end of 2022, and SRFR is unable to renew it without a substantial cost increase. The City reached out and found the same to be true with other providers.

The problem with contracting for emergency services is two-fold. First, it’s difficult for an agency to invest in long-term planning when a contract is only temporary. Second, any cost increases to the contract take funding away from other city services, such as police, roads and parks.

City leaders then considered annexing to a neighboring fire agency. Under annexation, property owners pay the fire/EMS provider directly for service, eliminating the city as the intermediary. 

Most Snohomish County property owners pay close to $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value for fire/EMS. Mill Creek property owners currently pay the equivalent of $0.88 per $1,000. This includes $0.51 of the City’s general property tax levy rate, and a City EMS levy of $0.37 per $1,000.

When considering other providers, South Snohomish County Fire & Rescue Regional Fire Authority (South County Fire) was the most cost-effective at a projected $1.51 per $1,000 of assessed property value in 2022. SRFR’s rates are projected to be $1.85 per $1,000. Both agencies offer comparable, high-quality service.

The Mill Creek City Council passed a resolution petitioning the South County Fire Board of Fire Commissioners to let the City annex. If the Board provides acceptable terms and conditions for annexation, Mill Creek residents could vote on the issue during a special election this spring. 

Fire Station map
The City is discussing whether to reduce its general levy by the amount property owners currently pay for fire/EMS, or retain some portion of that revenue to fund public services. The Mill Creek City Council will discuss these issues during its January meetings, and residents are welcome to take part. 

We will continue to provide updates as information is available. 
UPCOMING MEETINGS: COUNCIL CONSIDERS ANNEXATION 
Tuesday, February 1, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.
Tuesday, February 8, 2022 at 6:00 p.m.

Attend to learn more, ask questions, or share opinions. Details for accessing both meetings can be found at cityofmillcreek.com/city_government/city_council

During its February 8 meeting, the City Council anticipates making a decision whether or not to place the annexation proposal on the April 26, 2022 Special Election ballot.