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Marysville Fire District lays off firefighters

MARYSVILLE — The Marysville Fire District has laid off three of its firefighters and four of its other staff members, effective immediately.

According to Marysville Fire Chief Greg Corn, the Fire District's six-member Board of Directors voted unanimously on April 20 to lay off not only the three firefighters, but also one full-time and three part-time administrative positions. He added that the District's general operating expenses will be reduced by $190,000, and its reserve fund transfers will be reduced by $400,000. Reserve fund transfers are necessary to fund capital purchases.

This leaves the District with 86 remaining firefighters, out of a total of 93 full-time and 25 part-time staff members. One of the administrative layoffs was Kristen Thorstenson, public education specialist and information officer for the District. Although the District had already enacted a number of budget reductions prior to these latest cuts, Corn noted that this is the first time the District has laid off personnel to ensure its own sustainability into the future.

Corn explained that the District's current and projected revenue losses are primarily the result of continuously declining property values, which pushed the Emergency Medical Services levy to its statutory limit as of 2009, and are projected to do so with the regular property tax levy in 2012.

"With both levies stretched to their limits, any decrease in property value is a direct reduction to the Fire District's primary revenue source," Corn said in a statement issued on April 20. "As property values continue to decline, significant financial challenges arise for the Marysville Fire District. These challenges can only be met by reducing expenditures."

Corn anticipated that minor adjustments to the District's fire crews and stations could be made to accommodate its new staffing levels.

The District and union leaders are meeting on April 22.

Check back for additional details.

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