Regional Fire Authority (RFA)
Annexation Update: Arlington Fire Department and
North County Regional Fire Authority
The City of Arlington provides high quality fire and emergency medical services (EMS) for residents and businesses. In 2020, property owners paid the City a general tax levy of $1.42 per $1,000 of assessed value of which $0.92 (almost 65%) goes to fire suppression. They also paid an EMS levy of $0.33 per $1,000, and all City utility customers pay an Ambulance Utility Fee of $15 per month/$180 per year.
As emergency call volumes and costs increase, the amount of revenue for other City services (such as police, traffic safety and congestion relief, planning, and parks) decreases. On November 2, the City Council passed a resolution asking voters to annex the Arlington Fire Department to the North County Regional Fire Authority (known as North County Fire & EMS). The purpose of annexation is to provide a sustainable funding source for fire/EMS and protect the level and quality of service residents need.
The Arlington Fire Department has a long-standing partnership with North County Fire & EMS. The agencies currently share a medical services officer, fire marshal, community paramedic, training programs, and part-time emergency personnel. Finalizing this partnership through annexation would allow better deployment of personnel, improve training opportunities for firefighters, and provide more emergency resources for City residents.
Under annexation, property owners would pay a fire levy and EMS levy directly to North County Fire & EMS. In return, the City will reduce its general tax levy, but retain some revenue for traffic safety and congestion relief projects that the community has been seeking.
If annexation were in place today, the net result would be an additional $60 this year for the average property owner (defined as a home valued at $400,000). Use the Annexation Calculator to see what you would pay with or without annexation.
Annexation will reduce the need for more administrative staff, and the cost of additional emergency personnel, apparatus and equipment. It also is more efficient for taxpayers long-term because capital needs such as fire stations would be shared by more people.
Arlington will still have city fire stations, fire prevention programs, and local firefighters participating in community events, such as the annual Santa Run Food Drive. City residents would be able to vote on Fire Authority matters such as fire commissioners, levies and bonds, which they currently can’t do.
The annexation proposal will be on the February 9, 2021 Special Election ballot for voters in the City of Arlington. City Administrator Paul Ellis (360-403-4603, email@example.com) and Fire Chief Dave Kraski (360-403-3607 firstname.lastname@example.org) also are available to answer questions.