Ultimately, the ESCI study recommends that fire suppression and emergency medical response services for Eugene and Springfield be provided and funded independently of the cities, through the formation of a special taxing district, or annexation to an existing one.
This is one possible long-term outcome. Another possibility would be the permanent establishment of an intergovernmental agency structured similarly to the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission. Fire services are provided in this fashion in Livermore and Pleasanton, Calif., and elsewhere in the U.S.
Formation of an intergovernmental agency could be accomplished by action of the City Councils and the Lane County Board of Commissioners. It is also possible that one or more abutting fire service agencies could seek to be included. Issues of funding equity would need to be addressed.
District models for providing fire and emergency medical services have been highly successful in Oregon (e.g., Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue) and other states, but their formation is inevitably controversial as it entails a departure from the general-purpose government and related questions regarding tax equity and accountability to the public.
Formation of a new taxing district, or annexation to an existing one, would require an affirmative vote of the taxpayers affected. Although this is the course recommended by the consultants, and although the district model has been successful elsewhere, it will be a matter of years before the formal question is put to voters, if at all. For more information, or to voice your opinion, call 541-682-7118 or email the fire department.