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Nisqually tribe, Lacey Fire reach agreement on fee-for-service model

Lacey Fire Chief Steve Brooks, center, talks with firefighters at the Mullen Road station. Lacey Fire and the Nisqually Tribe have come to an agreement on how much the tribe should pay to be served by the Fire Department.
Lacey Fire Chief Steve Brooks, center, talks with firefighters at the Mullen Road station. Lacey Fire and the Nisqually Tribe have come to an agreement on how much the tribe should pay to be served by the Fire Department. Staff photographer

Lacey Fire District 3 will continue providing fire and emergency medical services to the Nisqually Indian Tribe through an agreement signed by both parties this month.

Under the new fee-for-service arrangement, the tribe will pay the fire district $1,025 per call to the reservation. Chief Steve Brooks said the district arrived at the figure by dividing its total operating costs by the number of calls.

The rate for each call can be adjusted each year as needed, and the agreement can be amended annually, according a Nisqually Indian Tribe press release.

“This gives us the protection we need and provides budgeting certainty for them and for us,” said Farron McCloud, Nisqually tribal chairman. “We want to be good community partners, and we’re growing, and we knew it was the right thing to do.”

Brooks said the district has provided fire and medical emergency services to the tribe since the late 1970s, and it is one of the district’s “higher response areas.”

Brooks said the district had a similar fee-for-service arrangement with the tribe in the early 1990s, but not since then. Instead, the tribe has provided money to the district every year by way of its gaming compact with the state. But the amount of money fluctuates every year, which makes it difficult for the district to include in its budget, he said.

Fire commissioner Sylvia Roberts said the new model makes budgeting more predicable for the district.

“The predictability in budgeting is certainly important for both parties,” Roberts said. “And the fire district is very encouraged that this arrangement will allow us to continue the valued and longstanding partnership we have with the Nisqually tribe.”

Amelia Dickson: 360-754-5445, @Amelia_Oly

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