The Town of Twisp is considering extending a fire protection contract with Okanogan County Fire District 6 for three years to provide time for potential annexation into the fire district.
A five-year contract for fire protection services with the fire district ends this year, and town and district officials met recently to discuss extending the contract.
“Everyone is interested in annexation,” said Hans Smith, a Twisp Council member who met with the fire district. “But it [annexation] would take longer than a year. A three-year extension made sense.”
Annexing the town into the fire district would require approval of voters within the town and within the fire district.
A draft contract for a one-year extension proposed increasing the contract amount from $48,620 paid by Twisp in 2017 to $50,000 in 2018. A similar yearly increase would likely be included in a three-year contract, Smith said. Fire district officials will provide a proposed three-year contract prior to the town’s next council meeting, he said.
Twisp began contracting for fire protection from District 6 in 2013 after the town disbanded its municipal fire department. Negotiations over the initial contract between town officials and former Fire Chief Don Waller and Commission Chairman Roy Reiber were prolonged and contentious.
Smith said he found recent negotiations with Chief Cody Acord and Commissioner Les Stokes more productive and pleasant. “It was a very amicable discussion. And quick too. A lot of smiles,” he said.