VRFA will serve Pacific residents, city or not

Whether or not the City of Pacific’s insurance carrier drops its coverage in the current turmoil and Pacific ceases to exist as a city, the Valley Regional Fire Authority will go on.

Residents of Auburn, Algona and Pacific established the boundaries of the Valley Regional Fire Authority by vote in 2006 to serve their cities, and regardless of a change in government involving any of the three member cities, the boundaries stay as they are.

“It doesn’t make any difference, the boundaries don’t change,” Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis said last week.

If the VRFA member in Pacific no longer exists, the VRFA’s attorney would seek advice from the state on whether or not any other members would be seated at the table.

The upshot is that King County would assume responsibility for collecting taxes in the newly unincorporated area.

“The tax base is still there, it would just change to the county having taxing authority  upon the base. The county would collect all the county taxes,” Lewis said.

Calls to King County were not returned for this article.

With a Dec. 31 deadline for cancellation of Pacific’s insurance rapidly approaching, City officials there have been scrambling to find ways to stave off the City’s possible disincorporation.

If the City cannot comply with the requests of its insurance carrier – which demanded in a July letter that critical vacant City Hall positions be filled – then it would be forced to operate without insurance beginning Jan. 1. Without insurance, employees and officials could be personally liable for City actions.

Mayor Cy Sun has fired many key personnel since taking office in January. Despite the recent hiring for several key vacancies – including city clerk, finance director and community services director – the issue of disincorporation is still on the table.

Ultimately, city officials hope to conform to the insurance carrier’s demands and continue to operate with insurance or find another carrier.


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