The Board of Fire Commissioners for Central Kitsap Fire & Rescue will meet to discuss a resolution asking voters to consider a bond to fund station-improvement projects. If the resolution is approved, voters would see the measure on the August 4 Primary Election ballot.
The meeting will take place on Monday, March 23 at 4:00 pm at 5300 NW Newberry Hill Road in Silverdale (98383). The public is invited and encouraged to attend. Individuals who are unable to attend, but would still like to provide public comment, are encouraged to contact Chief John Oliver at [email protected], or by letter at the above address. All comments are welcome and become part of the public record.
The District spent two years assessing its fire stations through a comprehensive Capital Facilities Plan. The plan identified needed facility improvements for community safety and to provide a healthier work environment for firefighters.
For example, many stations are nearly 60 years old, and none are up to current seismic standards. Engineers have identified several that would be in danger of collapsing even with a small earthquake. This could jeopardize the District’s ability to respond to emergency calls during such an event. Several stations also are located significant distances away from populated areas, which increases response times.
The stations lack effective exhaust removal systems and decontamination areas that reduce firefighter exposure to carcinogens and infectious diseases. Many stations also are not equipped with modern fire and life safety systems such as security cameras, commercial fire alarms and sprinklers. Some have been subjected to break ins.
Apparatus is a significant investment for taxpayers with a basic fire engine starting at approximately $500,000. Many stations are too small to shelter modern apparatus, which leaves it exposed to weather and reduces its lifespan.
Capital facilities are too expensive to fund through the District’s regular operating levies without cutting service levels. The facilities bond would be 32 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. Even with the bond, the average homeowner would still see a net decrease of $24 per year in the taxes they pay to the District compared to what they paid in 2019.
The decrease is possible because an excess levy has expired and an old bond for apparatus will be paid off before the new bond would take effect in 2021. The District planned a possible bond request to coincide with the retirement of the other funding measures to reduce impacts to taxpayers.
More information about the bond proposal, including a copy of the Capital Facilities Plan, can be found on the District’s website at ckfrdev721.wpengine.com. Chief John Oliver also welcomes questions at (360) 447-3566 or [email protected].