Assembly OKs ballot measure for Bear Creek

Posted: Monday, August 13, 2007

Bear Creek Fire Service Area residents will vote this fall whether to approve a one-mill hike in property taxes to cover the cost of a proposed $1.4 million bond issue, part of the funding necessary to build a new fire and emergency services facility.

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly voted 8-1 Tuesday to authorize a service area ballot measure on the October municipal ballot. If approved, it would allow spending approximately $3.5 million on the facility. Some $1.4 million would come from general obligation bonds; the rest about $2.1 million would come from grants.

No grants have been secured yet, and no bond money would be spent until all the necessary grant funds were in place, according to the borough administration.

At least 60 percent of service area voters must approve the measure, because borough law requires the supermajority whenever capital projects are to spend more than $1 million from funds other than those derived from bonds.

Bear Creek Fire Service Area currently runs its fire and emergency services out of three separate buildings, adding to total annual costs. The new building would cut those costs, and while primarily meant to house equipment, it would be more than a fire station, according to borough grants manager Bonnie Golden said.

"They are hoping to include a trooper station with offices and interview rooms, and a meeting room that could accommodate public meetings," she said. "It would be similar to that built for Kachemak Emergency Services."

Bear Creek Fire Service Area generally covers everything outside Seward city limits in the direction of Moose Pass, including such places as Old Exit Glacier Road, portions of Nash Road, and Bear Lake Road. Lowell Point is not included.

Hal Spence can be reached at hspence@ptialaska.net.



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