Seattle City Council
SUBJECT: Compton, Drago Unveil Fire Facilities Legislation
7/2/2003 5:02:00 PM
Compton, Drago Unveil Fire Facilities Legislation
Two bills to be introduced prior to July 7 public hearing
SEATTLE - Seattle City Councilmembers Jim Compton and Jan Drago will introduce new legislation on Monday to fund $157 million in construction and renovation of fire stations and emergency facilities in the City. If passed, the measure would go to the ballot this November.
Compton and Drago will introduce two pieces of legislation at the 2 p.m. Council meeting on July 7, both identical except for the financing mechanisms. One bill proposes a nine-year graduated tax levy, which would cost $98 a year for a median homeowner in year one, declining over subsequent years. Over the nine years, the levy would cost an average of $68 each year to a median homeowner. The other legislation proposes a 20-year bond measure, with an average cost of approximately $50 each year for a median Seattle homeowner.
The plan differs from an earlier $229 million proposal submitted to the Council that would have cost a median homeowner about $100 each year for seven years.
The Compton-Drago plan targets about half the City's 33 fire stations. It would fund the construction of 12 replacement fire stations for outdated facilities needing to be torn down, and fund renovation of six fire stations to expand capacity and make seismic retrofits.
The plan would create a new state-of-the-art joint training facility in southwest Seattle, a new City emergency operations center and fund the purchase of a large saltwater boat to enhance marine fire response. Under the plan, a health and wellness center would be built within a renovated Fire Station 2 in Belltown, while the Fire Alarm Center will be moved from Fire Station 2 to a newly constructed Fire Station 10 in Pioneer Square. Fire Department headquarters and the Fire Marshall's Office would remain in the their current locations.
"Ten weeks after 9/11 the Council passed a budget making emergency preparedness a top priority," said Drago. "The Fire Facilities ballot proposal prioritizes emergency preparedness and provides our firefighters with safe, modern equipment and facilities to protect Seattle citizens."
"We are in a recession, and there are serious questions about the public's willingness to pay for a huge package this year, but the cost thus far has come down dramatically and the time to act is now," said Compton.
Once the legislation is introduced on Monday, the Council's Committee of the Whole will take it up in discussion at 2:30 p.m. A public hearing on the proposals, and fire facilities updates in general, will be held at 5:30 p.m. that day in Council Chambers.
The Compton-Drago legislation will be available by noon tomorrow on the City Council's Web site, www.cityofseattle.net/council, or can be obtained by calling 206 684-8888.
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