Voters Favor Combining Ellensburg Fire Department and Kittitas County Fire District #2Posted: Updated:
ELLENSBURG, Wa - Efforts to combine the Ellensburg Fire Department and Kittitas Fire District #2 are looking good tonight. Nearly 3,000 voters said yes to *Annexation Proposition One*. That's nearly 80-percent.
Combining the two fire departments has been in the works now for years. It won't save taxpayers money, but the Ellensburg Fire Department's Deputy Fire Chief says the money they do save will be put to good use. The two departments work together all the time, so in this case, firefighters say two is not better than one.
"With the taxing limitations and the pressures on a small government, we look at it more administratively in how do we better spend the money that the public trusts us to spend," says Richard Elliott, Deputy Fire Chief of the Ellensburg Fire Department.
The Ellensburg Fire Department and Kittitas County Fire District #2 will soon be become Kittitas County Fire and Rescue starting next year, but they actually started the process even before the annexation vote.
"We had essentially merged over administrative already and we have merged our training division already," says Elliott, "And we did that independent of whatever the vote was going to be because it made sense to do so."
Deputy Fire Chief Elliott says combining the two departments will save money, but that money won't go back to the taxpayer. They'll use it to improve operations.
"In other words, we're not going to pay two fire chiefs anymore. We're not going to pay two separate sets of finance and payroll," says Elliott, "What we'll do is combine those functions and with those savings translate that back into the service of the community."