Voters approve bond for fire station

November 11, 2008

By Jon Savelle

Issaquah voters on Nov. 4 resoundingly approved a $4.5 million bond measure to build a new fire station on Maple Street Northwest at state Route 900. The vote was better than a 2-to-1 ratio in favor.

“It is very exciting,” said Eastside Fire & Rescue Chief Lee Soptich. “We are going to move very quickly now to take advantage of a market that has some softness as far as construction. We have been hearing encouraging words from other agencies, that actual bids are coming in under the estimates.”

Construction is likely in 2009. But first, architects must complete design of the building, money must be transferred from Fire District 10, permits must be obtained and the city must secure the bonds. 

“All those things take several months,” Soptich said. 

The station is estimated to cost about $8 million including bond costs. Issaquah would contribute $1.5 million, while King County Fire District 10 has committed $2 million. 

The 20-year, general-obligation bonds are for $4.5 million and would cost property owners an estimated 5.77 cents per $1,000 of assessed value. That works out to $28.85 per year for a house worth $500,000. 

However, because the city this year will pay off a previously issued bond (for which taxpayers paid approximately 4.58 cents per $1,000 of assessed value in 2008), the net increase over 2008 is estimated to be less than $6.

In 2006, Issaquah spent $1 million to buy the building site from Sound Transit. 

Another $55,000 went to schematic design and cost estimating for the project. 

The station is envisioned as having 11,257 square feet, with three equipment bays and incorporating highly energy-efficient materials and mechanical systems. 

Soptich said the public’s overwhelming support for the measure was very gratifying. 

“This says a lot about Issaquah, and we are proud to be a part of that,” he said. 

City Council President and Sound Transit Board member Maureen McCarry had a very similar response. 

“I’m ecstatic at the support from the community,” she said. “They recognized the importance of having a station in that part of the city. I’m really pleased that they took that into consideration in these economic times.”

When completed, the new station will replace the temporary Station 72 across Route 900 on Maple Street Northwest. That building already has outlasted its intended lifespan, is built on leased property, has no room for expansion and does not meet the construction and design standards EFR wants to maintain. 

Reach Reporter Jon Savelle at 392-6434, ext. 234, or

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