Wilkeson chooses to withdraw from East Pierce Fire & Rescue

Wilkeson has decided not to renew its contract with East Pierce Fire & Rescue.

The town and the fire district had worked for two years to try and resolve a tax-revenue discrepancy that left Wilkeson residents paying a lower rate than other communities since it joined the district, according to an East Pierce Fire news release.

“That inequitable contract needed to be resolved,” East Pierce Fire Chief Jerry Thorson said in the release.

Residents within the fire district pay $1.50 per $1,000 of assessed property value for fire services and 50 cents per $1,000 for emergency paramedic services.

The Wilkeson Town Council initially agreed to a new contract on May 12, the release states, but town staff contacted the fire district about two weeks later to announce that Wilkeson was instead contracting with the Buckley Fire Department. Wilkeson eventually agreed to a contract with Carbonado Fire Department, as well.

Neither department provides paramedic services, according to the release, so Wilkeson residents will receive private ambulance services from American Medical Response, based in Buckley.

If needed, East Pierce Fire will provide ambulance services, but “we will bill for transport to cover our costs,” Thorson said in the release.