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Fire Commissioner Carman now opposes station project
North Whidbey Fire and Rescue Commissioner Bruce Carman made a surprising announcement at January’s board meeting.
The former district chairman, once a strong supporter and an instrumental force in pushing for the levy that was twice defeated by voters in 2008, stated he no longer supports any additional money being spent on the Heller Road fire station construction project.
“I think the levy failure was due to the Heller Road construction project,” he said. “I want to go on record that everything in regards to the building project should be suspended until we get a handle on our budget.”
Carman said this would include not paying any more money to the architect or the lawyer. He made a motion containing those points.
However, Carman’s new position may be a moot point at this point. Since voters twice rejected levy proposals last year, spending on the fire hall expansion has virtually halted.
Fire Chief Marv Koorn said he didn’t think such a motion needed to be passed.
“We have in effect stopped working on the project and I don’t think we need a motion for something that is already not happening,” he said.
Carman suggested that instead of a new building, the district should consider purchasing a double or triple-wide modular for an office and remodel the existing office space at Heller Road for sleeping quarters to be used by paid on-call personnel.
Commissioner T.J. Lamont told Carman the idea of modular buildings had already been explored and it was determined that rebuilding would be more cost-effective, as some areas of the present Heller Road station are not up to code.
“The district discussed modular buildings before you became a commissioner and we decided to go another way,” Lamont told Carman.
Carman’s proposal to suspend building operations died for lack of a second, however, Carman reiterated he wanted to go on record as being opposed to the project and spending any more money.
“I’m thinking about the constituents I represent and we need to take a look at where we are going and what we’re doing before we spend any more money,” he said.
Koorn said that even though the cost of the project has gone down due to the lagging economy, planning operations for a new facility have been suspended.