Council members will consider Station 72 spending, agreement

June 23, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

Officials could release design money and approve a finance agreement related to the planned Eastside Fire & Rescue Station 72 when the City Council meets July 20.City officials must authorize spending up to $1.1 million in order for station design to proceed. The planned station would replace the aging EFR facility at 1770 Maple St.

In addition to design money, the council is also set to consider a finance agreement to pay for $2 million toward the $8 million construction cost. The agreement between city and Fire Protection District 10 officials would essentially allow District 10 to buy fire coverage from the three EFR stations in Issaquah.

District 10 is comprised of Klahanie, Preston, Carnation, Tiger Mountain and May Valley.

City Project Manager Brad Liljequist said the Station 72 design is about 30 percent complete. He assured City Council members he was mindful of budget constraints, but he said the station would include features friendly to the project budget and the environment.

“We’re going to have a very green station that’s also very cost effective,” Liljequist said.

Design, permitting and other project costs will cost $900,000. City officials requested $1.1 million to cover the estimated costs of finishing the design, beginning site work, acquiring permits and readying the project for contractor bids at the end of the year.

“The design process has been moving along very quickly,” Liljequist told members of the Council Services & Operations Committee June 18. “We’re really cruising along at this point.”

In 2006, city officials bought property from Sound Transit to build a fire station next to the Issaquah Transit Center. Station 72 will replace a temporary, outdated Maple Street fire station. The next year, council members spent $55,000 for a schematic design of the project. From there, the council authorized a bond and budgeted $8 million to build the station.

Voters overwhelmingly approved a $4.5 million bond in November. On Dec. 1, the City Council authorized $235,000 to continue design work for the planned station.

“We want to be very cost-conscious,” Liljequist said.

Council members are set to discuss the measure July 20. At the same meeting, council members will likely consider another measure related to Station 72 — a finance agreement with District 10 to help cover the cost of the planned facility.

Since early 2007, city and District 10 officials have discussed the possibility of District 10 helping to pay for Station 72 construction. About 17 percent of the coverage area for Station 72 covers District 10.

If the district were to shoulder 17 percent of the construction cost, its total would be about $1.5 million. But District 10 committed $2 million toward the construction of Station 72. The proposed agreement headed to the City Council irons out the financing.

When Issaquah annexed South Cove, the King County treasurer transferred $303,523.51 to city coffers. Included in the amount was $186,994 District 10 officials paid for EFR service.

The pact would require District 10 to give the city $1 million toward the construction of Station 72 to offset asset transfer and the county transfer payment. The agreement also provides for an additional $1 million contribution toward the fire station construction. District 10 would continue to receive coverage from three fire stations owned by the city. The $2 million would be paid to the city in four installments.

“Instead of trying to buy a piece of a fire station — which is very hard to do — and to have joint ownership and all the workings around that, what District 10 really does is buy the ability to be protected by all three fire stations inside the city limits,” EFR Deputy Chief of Planning Wes Collins said.

Councilman Fred Butler, an alternate member of the Services & Operations Committee, praised the proposed agreement.

“For a million bucks, we are getting $1.5 million assets. They’re not required to pay back about $300,000 and we agree to continue to support fire coverage out of all our facilities,” Butler said. “But they will pay for the cost of proportionate use of those facilities. This is a good deal.”

Reach Reporter Warren Kagarise at 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.

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