Kasilof fire station a vote away

Construction may begin in July

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2006

An ordinance granting $2.5 million to build a new fire station in Kasilof and renovate an existing station in Funny River will get a public hearing at Tuesday’s Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meeting.

The new station is to be located along the Sterling Highway about a mile south of the K-Beach intersection.

The borough could seek construction bids for the new station as soon as the end of this month, and actual construction on the Kasilof station could begin in early July.

The design of the 6,000-square-foot metal building will mirror that of the station built for the Kachemak Emergency Service Area, according to CES Assistant Chief Gordon Orth.

Once built, it will initially house a CES reserve engine able to hold 500 gallons of water, a medical response unit (though not an ambulance, yet), and a wildland response vehicle, he said in a recent interview.

A tanker-pumper truck with a capacity of 3,000 gallons has been ordered and will replace the reserve engine when it becomes available around March of next year, Orth said.

A Suburban-style vehicle will serve as transport for first-responder medical personnel. Eventually, an ambulance would be assigned to the new station.

Especially important to the heavily-wooded Kasilof area will be the wildland response vehicle that can carry between 500 and 700 gallons of water and wildland firefighting equipment.

Construction should take about four months.

A separate measure on Tuesday’s assembly agenda would authorize Mayor John Williams to enter into a formal agreement with Funny River Emergency Services Inc. on behalf of the borough and CES to acquire the 6,400-square-foot Funny River fire station and its equipment and supplies, and to provide certain services, including 24-hour staffing.

Ownership of a Funny River engine will be transferred to the borough, but it would remain at the station. The borough will begin building improvements to the station to provide quarters for station personnel.

In the fall election of 2004, voters elected to expand the Central Emergency Service Area to include Kasilof and Funny River, and approved the issuing of $2.5 million in bonds for funding the expansion.

Receipts from a sale of the bonds are expected to be available Wednesday. The sale is scheduled for Tuesday. Central Emergency Service Area property taxes will retire the debt, Finance Director Craig Chapman said.

In other business set for Tuesday’s assembly meeting, the assembly will hold public hearings on ordinances that would:

· Add two board members to the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area board and change the service area’s name to the Healthcare Service Area of the Central Peninsula.

· Approve negotiated leases of space at the Kenai River Center by state and federal agencies.

· Convey a lot in the Fairview Subdivision in Homer to the city of Homer in exchange for a 99-year lease of South Peninsula Hospital.

· Amend borough code to require late-filed senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemption applications to be filed no later than Feb. 15 of each year.

· Extend the termination date of the spruce bark beetle mitigation program and allow continued emergency harvest of dead spruce from borough land.

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