Prosser Fire Authority failing

Fire protection services in and around the city of Prosser will stay the same, but voters on Tuesday decided not to change how it's paid for.

Benton County Proposition 1, which would have raised property taxes for city residents and lowered them for county residents, was being rejected by 55 percent of voters.

As of Tuesday night, there were 1,287 "no" votes to 1,030 "yes" votes.

A simple majority was needed to form the Prosser Regional Fire Authority.

"It was a very complex issue, and I don't feel we got enough information out and educated the public about it," said Morgan Everett, chairman of the regional fire authority planning committee. "Operationally, we're acting as a joint department already. The day-to-day operations, whether it passes or didn't, weren't going to change."

The Prosser Fire Department and Benton Fire District 3 have been sharing resources and functioning as a joint fire agency, Prosser Fire District 3, since 2002.

If the measure passed, it would have provided a more stabilized funding for the fire service, said Everett, who is a Prosser city councilman and member of the fire board. Without the money for the regional fire authority, officials will have to decide how to cover the cost of daily operations and find money to replace aging equipment.

Results, which will be updated daily, are unofficial until the election is certified Nov. 23. Benton County totals from Tuesday include ballots received through Monday.