Borough OKs funds for station

Funny River set for upgrades

Posted: Thursday, June 22, 2006

Sparks will be flying — welding sparks, that is.

Construction of a new fire station in Kasilof and renovation of another in Funny River got a $2.5 million go-ahead Tuesday from the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly.

Voting unanimously, the assembly passed Ordinance 2005-19-54, which spends the money from a bond sale approved by voters in the 2005 municipal election. The assembly officially approved issuing the bond by resolution in April. The bond sale was held Tuesday, and the money became available Wednesday.

The new station will be built beside the Sterling Highway about a mile south of the Kalifornsky Beach Road intersection. Construction could begin by early July and is expected to take about four months, according to the borough.

The design of the 6,000-square-foot metal building will be fashioned after a prototype station built for the Kachemak Emergency Service Area, according to Central Emergency Services Assistant Chief Gordon Orth.

A separate measure passed Tuesday, Resolution 2006-058, authorized Mayor John Williams to enter 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, its equipment and supplies, and to provide certain services, including 24-hour staffing.

A Funny River service area fire engine also was transferred to borough ownership, but remain housed at the Funny River station.

“We are very pleased, especially after two years, to get the Funny River station project under way,” Williams said Wednesday.

About $1.7 million of the $2.5 million in bond proceeds will go to the Kasilof station project, where use of the prototype building is expected to save money. The remainder of the funding will go to the Funny River station project, where new living quarters will be built and a parking lot brought up to standard in anticipation of staffing the fire station on a 24-hour basis, Williams said.

“We are very pleased with the bond outcome,” he added, noting the borough had been hoping for an interest rate below 5 percent and the bonds were sold at 4.6 percent.

“That’s a good rate,” the mayor said.

Ground clearing already has begun at the Kasilof site. Construction documents are being prepared, and the contract could be awarded at the July 11 assembly meeting, Williams said.

In other fire and emergency services news, the assembly passed a resolution awarding a contract for ambulance billing services for Central Emergency Services, Nikiski Fire Service and Bear Creek Fire Service areas to Systems Design Northwest Inc., a Washington state-based company currently providing such billing services to more than 50 providers. The costs are estimated to run about $30,750 per year.

Other borough decisions ...

In other business, the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly:

· Adopted Ordinance 2005-19-53, authorizing purchase of a new mammography machine for Central Peninsula General Hospital.

· Adopted Ordinance 2006-24, authorizing negotiated leases for space in the Kenai River Center Building to state and federal agencies.

· Adopted Ordinance 2006-25, authorizing conveyance of two parcels of land in Homer in exchange for 99-year lease of South Peninsula Hospital.

· Postponed Ordinance 2006-26, which would amend borough code regarding late-filed senior citizen and disabled veteran property tax exemption applications. The issue will be considered at the July 11 assembly meeting.

· Tabled Ordinance 2006-27, which seeks to rename the Central Kenai Peninsula Hospital Service Area to Healthcare Service Area of the Central Peninsula.

· Adopted Ordinance 2006-28, extending the July 1, 2006, termination date of the emergency harvest of spruce bark beetle-killed timber to July 1, 2009.

The assembly also approved a resolution awarding a contract for professional design services for the Bear Creek Fire Service Area public safety building. Architects Alaska of Anchorage will be paid up to $106,929 for the schematic phase work.

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