Central Whidbey Fire & Rescue bond would fund station renovation, rig replacements

Central Whidbey fire district proposes bond to expand station, replace three aging apparatus

Central Whidbey Fire &Rescue is moving ahead with a plan to put a bond before voters next November to pay for station improvements and three new fire engines.

Fire commissioners voted last week to move forward with the plan, deciding on an option that would focus efforts on a major renovation and expansion of Station 53 on Race Road to better accommodate firefighters and apparatus.

The fire district will be asking voters to approve a 20-year, roughly $7.4 million bond that would address its most pressing facility needs and replace three fire engines that are reaching the end of their 25-year life span.

With an estimated levy rate of 20 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, a homeowner with a $300,000 house would pay about $5 per month to cover the bond.

“We have facility needs at all three of our stations,” said Central Whidbey Fire chief Ed Hartin. “We identified Station 53 here on Race Road as the most pressing. The challenges we have here with space as it relates to programmatic requirements impacts pretty much everything that we do, so this is our No. 1 priority.”

Station 53 is the fire department’s most centrally located station and also serves as its administration headquarters.

The fire district is looking at nearly doubling the size of Station 53 to accommodate apparatus and provide safer storage for contaminated equipment and gear. The plan also would increase sleeping quarters from three to six and provide more office space for administration.

Currently, firefighters who stay overnight sleep in a single-wide mobile home behind the station.

As part of the renovation and expansion, the apparatus bays at the station would nearly double in length, allowing not only more space to park and operate rigs but also to let the department more effectively continue its own cost-saving maintenance.

Fire commissioners also looked at another bond option that would have provided facilities improvements at both Station 53 and Station 54 in Greenbank, but in the end, decided that the needs of Station 53 were greatest.

Fire commissioners Steve Hutchinson and Cheryl Engle motioned to move forward with the Station 53 plan, while Paul Messner opted to abstain, citing his discomfort in not seeing more hard numbers related to construction costs and estimates at this point in the process.

Still, Messner agreed that the work at Station 53, built in 1991 and remodeled in 1999, is long overdue.

The majority vote essentially gave Hartin specific policy direction to continue working on the plan.

The commissioners will need to vote again to pass a resolution to place it on next November’s general election ballot.

More in News

Prosecutor declines to charge Langley police chief with crime

The Island County prosecutor won’t charge Langley Police Chief David Marks with… Continue reading

Registration open for returning students at SVC

Registration for returning students is underway for summer and fall quarters at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy becomes NorthSound Physical Therapy.

On June 1, Oak Harbor FamilyCare Physical Therapy officially becomes “NorthSound Physical… Continue reading

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island open house

Naval Air Station Whidbey Island will host its annual open house for… Continue reading

Whidbey Nonprofit Gifts Funds to Local Volunteer Organizations and Lighthouses

The Lighthouse Environmental Programs, or LEP, nonprofit group of Whidbey continues to… Continue reading

Art school hosting presentation by National Geographic photographer

Renowned photographer Sam Abell will give a lecture and photo presentation at… Continue reading

Oak Harbor Council creates taxing district to fund roadwork

Oak Harbor City Council adopted an ordinance that should help the city… Continue reading

Bench will be dedicated to longtime Oak Harbor leader

Kiwanis Club of Oak Harbor and the Oak Harbor School District will… Continue reading

Photo by Maria Matson/Whidbey News-Times
                                Janelle Solomon, 12, from the Lummi Nation’s Ultimate Warrior Canoe Club carries a canoe along with Regina Miller, who is about to participate in the Woman’s Singles races. See the story on page A9 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.
Water Fest draws up to 4,000 people

Bead by bead, three-and-a-half year old Ezra Malloy strung together a colorful… Continue reading

Most Read