There is a lot of misinformation floating around social media about our contract with South Pierce Fire and Rescue (SPFR) for fire and emergency medical services. We are in negotiations currently but it does not look like we will reach an agreement this year which means the current contract will roll over and we will have the exact same contract in 2024 as we had in 2023.
The contract states that SPFR can choose to use the Town Hall facility in Eatonville for housing their vehicles and personnel but they do not have to (they have always had the right to move if they so desired). This clause has been in the contract since 2015.
SPFR is indicating that they are going to move out of this facility next year. This is their choice and their choice alone. They are not paying any rent to be in the Town Hall facility and, as per the contract should it roll over, they will not be paying any rent in 2024 either. The Town is not asking them to move or charging them anything for the space. If they choose to move, they are contractually allowed to do so and there is nothing the Town can do to force them to stay.
So, assuming we do not come to an agreement on a new contract, there will be no changes in services from 2023 to 2024 other than SPFR’s decision on where they are going to house their equipment and personnel.
As far as any potential changes that may happen in the future, the administration will not present a contract to the Town Council until citizens of the Town have had a chance to voice their opinions.
In my opinion, this is not a decision that belongs solely to the administration or the Town council; it is a decision that should be made with Town citizens’ input. The Town administration and council are doing our best to live up to our fiduciary duty to prudently spend taxpayer dollars which requires reanalyzing things like contracts periodically to ensure we are protecting and doing the right things for the citizens we represent. We want and need high quality fire and EMS services and Town citizens should have a voice in how they would like those services to be provided. Rest assured that the Town will have high quality services and Town citizens will have a say when it comes to any new contract(s) that may be negotiated!
There are high quality options available to the Town for emergency medical services through private ambulance services who have very attractive contract price levels. The Town administration intends to:
• Investigate all options,
• Continue good faith negotiations with South Pierce Fire and Rescue.
• Consider the implications and possibility of annexation into SPFR District and
• Continue seeking and valuing citizen input.
As we move forward with this very important issue, we are committed to keeping you, the public, informed and will be sending out periodic information to ensure that we keep you in the loop.
As has been the case since the very beginning of my administration, I am always available to discuss any issue. My phone number is 253-222-4935 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Baublits is the mayor of Eatonville