Ellensburg, Wash. – The Board of Fire Commissioners for Kittitas County Fire District 2 (serving the community as Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue) passed a resolution asking voters to approve a bond on the April 22nd Special Election ballot to build a fire station. The measure passed unanimously on a 3-0 vote. Two commissioners were not in attendance because of commitments out of state but had provided input they supported the resolution.
Final cost estimates are $6.7 million to build the station on property owned by the fire district along East Mountain View Avenue. The property was home to the Mackner Scales business for many years, and redevelopment of the site would put this land back to community use.
Building a fire station is the next step in a long-term plan by Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue and the City of Ellensburg to improve emergency services for the community. This would enable the fire district to vacate the property it currently leases from the City of Ellensburg, which needs the space for its police department. Both the fire and police stations then would be strategically located to respond to a majority of emergency calls each agency receives.
“The timing is right to build our own fire station,” said Fire Chief John Sinclair. “The property is in an ideal location for our emergency operations. Our lease will be up by the time construction is complete, and bond financing rates are at historic lows.”
The bond amount has been reduced twice, first from $12.6 for two stations to $8 million for one station after members of the Citizens Advisory Group expressed concern about the cost. The fire district was able to reduce costs further to $6.7 million through its final estimating process. If the bond is approved by voters, an owner of a $200,000 home could expect to pay 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation (approximately $40.08 per year or $3.34 per month) over a 20 year period.
Chief Sinclair says that the fire district will spend the next few months educating the public about the proposal through the news and social media, the fire district website www.kvfr.org, and public presentations. Community groups are encouraged to contact Chief Sinclair at sinclairj@KVFR.org or (509) 856-7714 to schedule a presentation before the April 22nd election.
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