“Failure is not an option.”
This statement was made by Mayor Scott Higgins following the recent approval by the Camas City Council of the 10-year inter-local agreement that officially merges the Camas and Washougal fire departments to create one unified entity. The unanimous vote was the final step in a process that has spanned more than two years.
Higgins’ statement sums up what are likely the feelings of many of the city officials who have spent countless hours working toward this consolidation. By all accounts, it hasn’t been an easy process. There have been challenges along the way, some due to differences of opinion and others simply due to the magnitude of what the two jurisdictions involved were trying to accomplish.
In the end though, with logical and thoughtful discussion, patience, compromise, and to a certain degree a willingness to set aside egos and territories, the 30-page document that will guide the next decade of this partnership was created. It’s a collaboration that has already produced a more efficient and in certain circumstances less expensive, but still high quality, service to the taxpaying public.
Even with a thorough and comprehensive inter-local agreement in place, from this point forward chances are it won’t all be smooth sailing. There will be issues to deal with, some of which may not have even been anticipated. But if the levels of commitment by all of those involved remain has high and laser sharp as they have been during the past three years, there is a very good chance that any hurdles can and will be overcome.