University Place and Lakewood fire officials say merging the two districts makes sense financially, but some residents are questioning whether their tax dollars would be spent wisely.
On Tuesday, about 60 people attended the University Place Fire District 3 board meeting to discuss the proposed merger.
Some residents said they support the move; others argued against it.
“I firmly believe this is a good deal for Lakewood,” said Scott Stephen of University Place. “I do not believe this is a good deal for University Place.”
Bill Bush, UP’s former fire chief, said the two districts have common interests. This isn’t the 1990s either, he said, referring to previously failed efforts to merge the districts.
“As far as a ‘them-us’ mentality — please. We’ve been down that road before and it serves no purpose,” he said.
In January, after a yearlong study, the Lakewood Fire District 2 Board of Commissioners voted to pursue a merger between the two departments. The two districts border each other in the west end of Pierce County.
In a merger, Lakewood would dissolve its fire district and merge into University Place’s, which would become West Pierce Fire & Rescue. It would be governed by a single board with residents from both cities.
Read more about this story in Thursday’s News Tribune.