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Election: Prop 4 would build fire station

Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Ballot Proposition 4, which seeks voter approval for issuing up to $1.4 million in general obligation bonds to help build a new fire station, concerns only voters within the Bear Creek Fire Service Area, but it would require those residents to agree to an increase in their annual property taxes.

Prop 4 will ask voters to approve spending up to $3.5 million on the new station, which would include the $1.4 million in bonds, with the rest to be accumulated through grants.

No bonds would be sold and no construction initiated until the $2.1 million in grant money had been acquired.

The bond debt would be paid by service area property taxpayers who must agree to an increase in the mill rate of approximately 1 mill. The current service area rate is 2.25 mills. A mill equals $100 in taxes on every $100,000 of assessed property value.

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, a condition that increases annual costs, according to proposition supporters.

The new station would cut those costs, and while primarily meant to house equipment, 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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