The cities of Olympia and Tumwater will co-host an online event on May 19 at 6 p.m. to provide opportunities for a public discussion about the Regional Authority (RFA) plan.
In an RFA committee meeting held on Monday, May 9, Tumwater City manager John Doan said they would discuss RFA basic information.Fire chiefs from each citiy and union representatives will be there as panelists. They will talk about why RFA is important to both cities.
Doan said he and Olympia city manager Jay Burney would explain the timeline and the path to the election. They will open the discussion for questions from attendees.
"There are probably more questions than answers at this point. But that is okay. Our desire is to find out what people are concerned about so that we can take that back and work on it in the process," Doan said.
A committee was formed in 2021 to work on a plan to combine both cities' fire departments under an RFA. Talks between the fire departments' unions started in 2019, according to an earlier report in The JOLT.
The committee comprises council members from both cities, fire chiefs, and fire department labor unions representatives.
The committee's tasks include establishing the RFA purpose, outlining a work plan, and creating shared values and principles.
The committee is reviewing the summary of a series of discussions concerning governance and financial situation.
In an earlier presentation at the city council meeting on April 12, Burney said they expected to submit RFA plan to both Olympia and Tumwater councils by October this year.
They expected that the deliberation in both chambers would start in October 2022 through February 2023, which would eventually give way to an election in April 2023.
Under the target timelines, the RFA would start operation Aug. 1, 2023.
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I am all for it. As seen in so many other local consolidations, it has proven itself beneficial. Not only the cost savings of the elimination of duplicate administrations, but the leveling of quality of services across the 2 communities. You can see various examples over many years of these successes. CAPCOM/TComm 9-1-1 was probably the most visible to the community. Many fire districts have also chosen this approach. Hopefully the committees see it likewise.
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