The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue decided to postpone its request for a facilities bond to replace and renovate its fire stations. The Fire District had spent several years preparing to place the measure on the August 4, 2020 Primary Election ballot.
“Many in our community are facing economic uncertainty due to the pandemic,” said Fire Chief John Oliver. “We’ve decided to pause and give our citizens and businesses the opportunity to recover before we ask for these projects.”
Chief Oliver says that everything the District has is going to operations to support the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This has to be our focus at the moment,” said Chief Oliver. “We’re giving it everything we have, and we will beat this virus. Our community and nation will be stronger as a result.”
Chief Oliver says that the need for adequate facilities is important now more than ever to ensure the safety of the community and firefighters.
This disease has shown the need for pandemic-resilient facilities. The station projects had previously identified the need for improved decontamination areas for personnel that respond to not only fires but also medical emergencies.
Though the economy is struggling now, these “shovel ready” station projects will help stimulate the local economy and create jobs when most needed. The preliminary site studies have been completed, the stations have been designed, and several of the projects are ready to go when funding is approved by voters. This will represent jobs for those that have been sidelined due to the work moratorium.
“This is not the time to ask, but when our economy begins to recover, it will be an opportunity to put people to work and dollars into the community,” said Chief Oliver.
The District acknowledges that the timing would have been ideal for the current bond request. It had retired a bond for apparatus, and a Maintenance and Operations Levy had expired. As a result, property owners would have seen a net decrease in what they paid in taxes to the District in 2019.
If the local economy begins to recover this summer, the Board of Fire Commissioners will consider the November General Election as its earliest option to ask voters to fund these community projects. More information on the facilities bond proposal can be found on the District’s website at ckfrdev721.wpengine.com.