Voters asked to approve $5.5 million to build fire station

December 20, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Officials said building a fire station in May Valley could improve response times for residents in the Issaquah area.

The issue is due to go before Fire District 10 voters early next year.

Officials plan to ask district voters to approve a $5.5 million bond in a Feb. 14 special election. Fire District 10 is the Eastside Fire & Rescue partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area.

Officials plan to use bond dollars to relocate crews from Fire Station 78 from 16135 S.E. 113th Place just outside Renton city limits to a modern facility at a more central location at Southeast May Valley Road and 207th Avenue Southeast. Such a move is meant to shift a fire station about three miles east, deeper into the district.

EFR Deputy Chief Bud Backer said building a facility along Southeast May Valley Road should improve response times for district residents.

“The need with the current location that the existing Station 78 is in, it’s now sitting down in a corner of the district in a spot where it doesn’t serve a major part of the population of that area in a timely manner,” he said.

If voters approve the 20-year bond, homeowners should pay about 9 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value — or about $3 per month for a home assessed at $400,000.

If the bond passes, construction should start on May Valley’s Station 78 in 2013, although improvements to other Fire District 10 facilities could start in 2012.

Funding from the bond is also meant to shore up existing facilities throughout Fire District 10, including the cramped volunteer Fire Station 76 on Tiger Mountain. The bond proposal does not include annual operating costs for firefighting equipment. The district last asked voters to approve a bond in the mid-1990s.

EFR and Issaquah officials recently partnered to build Station 72 near the Issaquah Transit Center as a showcase for “green” technology. Backer said although Fire District 10 officials might incorporate some “green” features in the proposed Fire Station 78 construction, the project is unlikely to mirror Station 72.

In a unanimous decision at a Nov. 16 meeting, Fire District 10’s five-member commission decided to put the bond question on the February ballot.

“The commissioners have been discussing the need and reviewing options for the majority of the past year,” EFR Chief Lee Soptich said. “With the favorable bond market and a very competitively priced construction environment, this is one of the most cost effective times to be investing in the infrastructure of the district.”

Overall, EFR serves 120,000 people spread across almost 200 square miles. The agency’s service area includes Issaquah, Sammamish, North Bend, Fire District 10 and Fire District 38 — unincorporated King County near North Bend and Snoqualmie.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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