Sheldon bill streamlining fire district operations wins final passage, goes to governor

Bill allows large fire districts to hire own treasurers

OLYMPIA – A measure sponsored by Sen. Tim Sheldon to streamline fire district financing passed the state House of Representatives Thursday and now goes to the governor’s office for final consideration.

Senate Bill 5565 won approval in the House 97-0, following a 46-0 vote in the Senate.

“The bill passed without a dissenting vote – you have to love that,” said Sheldon, D-Hoodsport. “This bill takes care of an issue that occurs when populations grow and local government becomes more complex. Fire districts go through county and city treasurers’ offices for services related to bond issues and other financial needs. Today many fire districts have big and specialized needs, and by combining to form regional fire authorities, they can rival the size of city and county governments.

“This bill allows fire districts and regional fire authorities to hire their own treasurers, takes the burden from county and city governments, and allows fire districts to do the job themselves.”

The measure applies to fire districts and regional fire authorities with revenues in excess of $10 million annually. Sheldon introduced the bill at the request of Kitsap County fire districts. Other special-purpose districts already have the ability to hire their own treasurers, Sheldon said, including public utility districts, libraries, ports and sewer districts.