UPDATE: On April 28, 2022, the Northshore Fire Board of Commissioners and the Shoreline Fire Department Board of Commissioner unanimously voted to approve the Final Contract for Fire and EMS Services.

On February 1, 2022, the Northshore Fire Department Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to select the Shoreline Fire Department as the contract service provider. Negotiations and detailed planning is underway with a tentative implementation projected for June 1, 2022.

On July 20, 2021, the Northshore Fire Department Board of Commissioners voted to request proposals for Contract for Services from Eastside Fire & Rescue and the Shoreline Fire Department for a long-term contract for administrative, Fire Marshal, and fire and emergency medical services. Northshore Fire Department is looking for a provider that will offer the same level of service or better. Under a Contract for Services, the Northshore Fire Department will continue to own our reserve funds, equipment, and facilities. The Board of Commissioners will set the level of service and tax rate for the district.

The Board of Commissioners values input from the citizens and stakeholders of Lake Forest Park and Kenmore. There are several ways to provide input regrading Contract for Services.

Northshore Fire Department’s is following the schedule below in researching and implementing Contract for Services:

Board reviewed draft RFP July 6, 2021
Requests made to Eastside Fire & Rescue and Shoreline Fire for Service Contract Proposals July 20, 2021
Board Retreat. Developed draft criteria for evaluating proposals August 25, 2021
Board meeting to finalize criteria and public outreach plan September 7, 2021
Board Chair Presentation at Lake Forest Park City Council Meeting September 9, 2021
Board Chair Presentation at Kenmore City Council Meeting September 13, 2021  Presentation PPT
Board of Commissioners Special Meeting September 14, 2021
Deadline to Submit Proposals September 15, 2021
Board Special meeting to review proposals September 17, 2021
Discussion with Lake Forest Park City Council’s Meeting of the Whole September 20, 2021 Recording
Presentations by Chief Clark of Eastside Fire & Rescue and Chief Cowan of Shoreline Fire Department (Invited) September 21, 2021
Virtual Open House September 28, 2021
Additional Information and/or Interview October 5, 2021
Adopt new decision-making schedule December 21, 2021
Working session to evaluate proposals based on criteria on this website (below), discuss fee for transport, aid car staffing levels, and administrative staff. January 4, 2022
Present to Kenmore City Council January 10, 2022
Open house. Describe process, issues, and recommendations. Take public input. January 18, 2022 @ 7PM ZOOM
Present to Lake Forest Park City Council January 24, 2022 @ 6PM
Discuss input form public & City Councils. Formalize contract agency recommendation. Notify agency. Initiate negotiations with agency. February 1, 2022
Joint Northshore Fire and Shoreline Fire Board of Commissioners Meeting to approve Final Draft of Contract for Fire and EMS Services.

Target Date to Implement Contract

April 28, 2022


June 1, 2022

Click here for PDF copy. 

Revised 9/17/2021

1. What is the difference between a fire district, a fire district using a “contract for services”, and a city fire department?
• Fire districts are municipal corporations that have their own taxing authority and are responsible for providing fire prevention, fire suppression and emergency medical services. (See RCW 52.12.011 and RCW 52.02.020). The Fire Board of Commissioners is the governing body.
• Many smaller fire districts choose to contract some or all of their services out to larger Districts or local municipalities. This is common practice and happens for a wide variety of reasons all over King and Snohomish Counties. Under a contract for services each fire district retains its identity, governance and taxing authority. This is allowed under the “Inter-local Cooperation Act” RCW chapter 39.34.
• A city or municipal fire department is one part of a full-service city. The city is the taxing authority and funds the fire department. The City Council is the governing body.

2. Why is the Northshore Fire Department Board of Commissioners requesting contract for services offers?
• Contract for services offers have been requested to gain operational efficiencies and assure quality and dependable services can be provided far into the future.
• Small fire districts have a difficult time providing the same level of specialization of services as a more regional system. The Northshore Fire Department serves the Cities of Lake Forest Park and Kenmore with one fire station in each city.
• Small fire departments may have a difficult time hiring fire fighters and leadership positions due to the lack of advancement potential. We already contract out our Fire Chief and Fire Marshal services.
• Most small fire departments throughout King and Snohomish Counties, both municipal and districts, have taken a more regional approach, either merging or contracting for services.
• Contracting for services maintains local control compared to other consolidation options.
• The Northshore Fire Department expects to more efficiently provide the same or better level of service through contracting with another agency.
• The Northshore Fire Department expects to save money by avoiding some duplication of services. Larger departments already have the capacity to add some of our work needs to their present work force.
• The Board of Commissioners requested proposals from Shoreline Fire Department which serves the City of Woodway and the Eastside Fire and Rescue which is a consortium of several east King County Fire Districts serving Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, Woodinville, and Fire Districts 10 and 38 with headquarters in Issaquah.

3. Will there be any changes to the Medic One program?
No. The medic unit will remain stationed at Lake Forest Park Station 57. Medic One is a King County-wide program and will not be impacted by a Northshore contract for services.

4. How will the contract service provider be selected?
The Board of Fire Commissioners has developed a list of criteria to assess the contract proposals. These criteria focus on the best interests of the citizens of the Kenmore and Lake Forest Park. Criteria include quality of service, range of services available, contracting experience, reputation and cost. Click here for pdf copy.

5. What are some local examples of “contracting for service”?
The City of Kenmore is an example. They contract with the King County Sheriff’s Department for police services. They rely on Northshore Utility District for utilities. They have an agreement with Republic Services to provide garbage service.
Some fire districts across the region also contract with other fire districts or municipal departments to provide fire and EMS services to their jurisdictions. Here are several local examples. Details on these contracts can be found at the Municipal Research and Services Center of Washington. https://mrsc.org/Home/Explore-Topics/Public-Safety/Fire-Protection/Local-Government-Fire-Protection-Service-Providers.aspx.
• The City of Bothell provides fire and EMS services for Snohomish County Fire District No. 10 under a contract for services.
• Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority provides fire and EMS services to King County Fire District No. 37 and Fire District No. 43 under contracts for services.
• Renton Regional Fire Authority provides fire and EMS services to King County Fire District No. 25 and Fire District No. 40 under contracts for services.
• Valley Regional Fire Authority provides fire and EMS services to King County Fire District No. 31 under a contract for services.
• The City of Redmond provides fire and EMS services to King County Fire District No. 34 under a contract for services.

6. What is the difference between a “contract for services” and a merger?
• In a contract for services agreement, local control is maintained by the Board of Commissioners, who are elected by the voters of Kenmore and Lake Forest Park, while the day-to-day operations are managed by a different entity. The Board of Commissioners for Northshore would determine the level of service under the contract, set the tax levy and fire benefit charge; pay the bond debt; maintain and manage reserve accounts; and retain ownership of the two fire stations, apparatus, and equipment. The Board will continue to provide oversight of the service and costs and give input as needed. A contract for services would not necessarily change the levy rate and/or fire benefit charge for Northshore. The other agency would provide fire, EMS, and other services to Northshore as part of a contractual agreement. While some current Northshore firefighters may be assigned to stations outside of our area, we anticipate that most will remain in their current assignments. We will continue to participate in the mutual aid program, which assures that area fire agencies respond to area calls as a team.
• In a merger, two fire districts are consolidated into a single fire district. The surviving district’s jurisdiction would expand to include the jurisdiction of both districts involved in the merger. Immediately after the merger, the Board of Commissioners of the surviving fire department would consist of all the Fire Commissioners of the two districts. The number of members on the board then reduces whenever a vacancy occurs on the Board, until the number of remaining members is reduced to a permanent number of members. With a merger, the surviving district would charge the levy rate and/or fire benefit charge through its jurisdiction. But, only the properties within Northshore’s current jurisdiction would be liable for the bond levy.

7. What did we learn from Proposition 1 that attempted to merge the Northshore Fire Department into Woodinville Fire and Rescue?
The citizens of Kenmore and Lake Forest Park and Northshore’s firefighters were not interested in a merger with Woodinville Fire and Rescue. The Northshore Fire Department Board of Commissioners respects that vote and appreciates the direction given by the voters.

8. If the voters just decided they did not want a merger with Woodinville, why is the Northshore Fire Department entering into a contract for services?
A merger and a contract for services have substantial differences. One of the most important is maintaining local control over the level of taxation through your elected officials and ownership of Northshore Fire Department assets while achieving the efficiencies of service associated with regionalization. See FAQ numbers 2 and 5.

9. What is the history and timeline behind the present decision to seek a contract for services?
For roughly the past decade members of the Northshore Board of Fire Commissioners, its firefighters and administration have been studying, evaluating and implementing different forms of cooperation and consolidation with its regional partners. In 2015, the Northshore Fire Department evaluated an option with Bothell and Woodinville. In 2019 to 2021 the Northshore Fire Department evaluated and brought to a vote of the people Proposition 1 which was a merger of the Northshore Fire Department with Woodinville Fire and Rescue. At times during this process, we contracted Fire Chief, Fire Marshal and IT services. We are now considering the best option to get all leadership and administrative functions back up to full capacity. The Board of Commissioners believes that a contract for services is the best way to accomplish this.

10. What input do the citizens and Cities of Lake Forest Park and Kenmore have in the decision of how to provide fire and emergency services to the two cities?
• Northshore Fire Department Board meetings are on the first and third Tuesday of each month. They welcome citizen input during the citizen comment period.
• There will be designated a virtual open house to get input and opinions. See the Northshore Fire Department website under Public Input: https://www.northshorefire.com/contract-for-services/.
• There will be presentations from the Northshore Fire Department Board to the Cities of Kenmore and Lake Forest Park. These are open public meetings for the public to attend virtually. See the Northshore Fire Department website under Key Dates: https://www.northshorefire.com/contract-for-services/.
• The Northshore Fire Department Board will be seeking input from all stakeholders including the public, the Cities of Kenmore and Lake Forest Park, and the Firefighters Union. This information will be incorporated with the proposals from the Shoreline Fire Department and Eastside Fire and Rescue and all other relevant information such as budget and levy deadlines imposed by the State.

11. Does the Firefighter Labor Union support consolidation?
Yes, labor has expressed support for consolidation over the past decade.
Statement from union President Jeremiah Ingersoll: “The Northshore Firefighters Local 2459 supports thoughtful consolidations that provide operational efficiencies with other agencies that share borders.”

12. Do we have information from other small fire districts that joined larger entities?
The Northshore Fire Department Board is gathering information through a series of interviews to determine the efficacy of these contracts. Our interview questions will be posted on the Northshore Fire Department website under Agency Interviews: https://www.northshorefire.com/contract-for-services/.

13. What is the timeline for making a decision on a contract for services and what factors affect that timeline?
• The timeline will be posted on the Northshore Fire Department’s website at https://www.northshorefire.com/contract-for-services/.
• By Washington State mandate, Northshore Fire Department is required to submit a budget by November 15, 2021. Whether we provide full services as we have in the past or contract some of those services with another agency, it will have a major impact on how we do our budget.
• The budget needs to be determined before the levy rate, fire benefit charge, and levy lid lifts can be determined. The deadline for this is November 1, 2021.
• The Interlocal Agreement (ILA) for Fire Chief’s services will end October 1, 2021.
• The ILA for Fire Marshal Services will end September 30, 2021.
• The ILA for IT services agreement will end September 30, 2021.
• The labor contract with the IAFF, Local 2459 expires on December 31, 2021.

14. Where can I get more information related to the how the Northshore Fire Department will provide fire and emergency services?
The Northshore Fire Department website at https://www.northshorefire.com/contract-for-services/.





Click here for PDF copy.

The following description of the Scope of Work is intended to be the desired scope of work.  Northshore Fire Department is open to variations in the scope of work.  If an agency is proposing a variation on this Scope of Work, please clearly identify that variation in the Proposal.

  1. Services. Northshore Fire Department is requesting Proposals from public agencies for fire and emergency medical services for a period of at least seven (7) to ten (10) years to include the following:
  • All services necessary for fire suppression, emergency medical service, hazardous materials response, technical rescue, and disaster response to a service area within the jurisdictional boundaries of Northshore Fire Department as are currently provided by Northshore Fire Department.
  • Support services including, but not limited to, fire chief, fire prevention and life safety, public education, public information, facilities and fleet maintenance, payroll and finances, human resources, and legal and risk management pertaining to the operations and delivery of fire department services.
  • Training and education to all firefighter and emergency medical service personnel in accordance with State, County, and local requirements.
  • 911 dispatch services.
  • Appropriate insurance coverage.
  • Maintain participation in the Northshore Emergency Management Coalition (NEMCO).

The Agency shall assume the Northshore Fire Department contractual responsibility and obligations for the provision of mutual and automatic aid.

  1. Level of Service. The agency awarded the contract will maintain the level of service currently provided by Northshore Fire Department or better.  Northshore Fire Department’s minimum staffing requirements are currently as follows:
  • Battalion 151 – 1 Battalion Chief or Acting Battalion Chief
  • Engine 151 – 1 Lieutenant or Acting Lieutenant, 1 driver operator (engineer) and 1 firefighter
  • Aid 151 – 2 firefighters
  • Engine 157 – 1 Lieutenant or Acting Lieutenant, 1 driver operator (engineer) and 1 firefighter

There shall be a process by which Northshore Fire Department may add to services or increase the level of service during the term of the contract.  When a service level change is mandated by law, required due to a collective bargaining agreement, or is requested by Northshore Fire Department, the parties shall renegotiate the provisions of this Agreement at the request of either party.

3. Employees. The Agency awarded the contract shall become the employer of all Northshore Fire Department employees, including administrative and unrepresented uniformed personnel and IAFF members; with the exception of the Northshore Fire Department Board Secretary.

  • The uniformed employees of Northshore Fire Department would be integrated into the IAFF local for the agency. Uniformed employees of Northshore Fire will continue in their current positions, job assignments, and seniority, or as agreed through collective bargaining prior to the implementation of the contract.
  • Administrative uniformed employees of Northshore Fire Department may be reassigned to job positions that meet the needs of consolidating the two organizations.
  • Any civilian employee of Northshore Fire Department who is reassigned to a new position with the agency shall be entitled to wages and benefits consistent with, or greater than, the current wages and benefits provided by Northshore Fire Department for such employee’s former position.

Sick leave and vacation leave of employees of Northshore Fire Department shall be transferred and maintained by the agency.

Upon termination of this contract for any reason other than a merger or other permanent form of consolidation of Northshore Fire Department with the agency, employees who were employees of Northshore Fire Department will return to employment with Northshore Fire Department.

Northshore Fire Department would either retain the LEOFF I medical obligation or reimburse the contract agency for those costs.

  1. Property. Northshore Fire Department shall retain ownership of all existing fire stations, facilities, real property, apparatus, vehicles, and equipment.  The agency awarded the contract shall maintain all such property in accordance with policies, procedures, and best practices as currently in effect.  In the event of a significant, unanticipated repair or replacement that is considered to be a capital expenditure, the parties will negotiate how the repair or replacement is to be funded.

Fair and reasonable compensation should be provided for regional use of Northshore Fire Department facilities, including the headquarters administration building and fire training grounds, and consumables.

  1. Reserve Funds. Northshore Fire Department would retain ownership of its reserve funds.
  2. Construction Bond Levy. The Northshore Fire Department would retain and make payments to retire the Station 51 construction bond levy.
  3. Oversight. The Chair of Northshore Fire Department and the agency, and/or their designees, shall act as administrators of the contract for services pursuant to RCW 39.34.030. During the term of this Agreement, the agency’s Fire Chief shall provide the Board of Fire Commissioners for Northshore Fire Department with quarterly reports concerning the provision of services.

Elected officials of Northshore Fire Department and the agency, along with the Fire Chief for the agency, shall meet at least once per calendar year, on or before July 1st, for the purpose of communicating about issues related to this Agreement.

The Fire Chief of the agency shall present a joint annual report to the elected official of Northshore Fire Department and the agency prior to July 31st.

At least once each calendar year, the elected official of Northshore Fire Department and the agency shall participate in a planning retreat for the purpose of identifying any operational concerns from the past operational period, and to conduct operational planning, capital improvement planning, and financial planning for the next operational period.  The joint annual planning retreat shall occur prior to September 30th.

  1. Collective Bargaining. Northshore Fire Department and the agency will need to collectively bargain the impact of a contract for service upon their respective labor unions that represent the employees.
  2. Termination. Either party might terminate the Agreement after the first five (5) years of contract service, but only upon adequate notice to the other party of no less than two (2) years.

Click here for PDF copy.

The following criteria will be used to evaluate the proposals for Contract for Services.

(1a)              Best interest to citizens we serve.

(1b)              Best interest to stakeholders we serve.

(2)                How will they treat transfer of Northshore employees?

(3)                Clarify and evaluate risks and underlying assumptions.

(4)                Clear prediction of costs over the term of the contract.

(5)                Equal or better service across all aspects of operation.

(6)                Potential for continued service improvements.

(7)                Expanded opportunities for firefighters and department members.

(8)                Confidence in governance model.

(9)                Experience in providing contract services.

(10)              Satisfaction of current contract agencies –  Responsiveness to local needs.

(11)              Cost of Service.

(12a)            Agency financial obligation.  (a) History of budget/ Tax rate increases.

(12b)           Agency financial obligation.   (b) History of revenue steams.

(13)              Short term impacts – Similarities and differences of operations.

(14)              Long term impacts.

(15)              Plan for organizational integration.

(16)              Stakeholder response review.

(17)              Citizen response review.

The Northshore Fire Board of Commissioners hired independent consultant, Tom Broetje, of CFO2GO to conduct an independent analysis of the two proposals.  His analysis is below (updated 12/7/2021):