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SKFR mulls new Manchester fire station
At the most recent meeting of the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners last month, the fire districts budget for next year was approved, and discussion began on what the next Emergency Medical Services levy measure may include.
SKF&R Chief Wayne Senter said his staff is looking into whether it would be feasible to add a fire station in the section of his district with the longest response times, which he said was the Manchester area.
Currently we have Station 9, Yukon Harbor, which is a volunteer station, Senter said, explaining that to become a career station, however, the existing location would need to be upgraded. In particular, he said, it lacks a sewer system.
But it doesnt look like well be able to get the land we want in the time frame we want it, Senter told the board, adding that while there is a resident with adjacent land who said she would be happy to sell to us, it wouldnt be for several years yet.
And there may actually be a better location, after all, and we are exploring all avenues and preparing a plan to present to you in the future most likely as part of the future EMS levy next year, he said.
Also, Senter said the district will have to mull whether to sell the existing property if land near it cannot be obtained to make it a viable career station, or to hold onto it and have it remain a volunteer station.
My initial response is to hang onto it, he said. It still works well for the volunteers.
Overall, however, Senter said the district would prefer to find some way to utilize the station they already own and make the site work that would be the most economical.
The need for such a station in Manchester became more pronounced recently due to the U.S. Navys decision to close its Manchester Fuel Depot in January, a station that frequently responded to nearby incidents. Due to its proximity, it could also reach much of the area faster than units from SKFR.
Also at the meeting:
The board approved a 2008 budget of approximately $12 million, which Senter pointed out included a decrease in the amount of property tax revenue it would be collecting from its last successful levy.
And the reason for that is in 2007, we collected two years worth of expenses for funding (the nine new firefighter/EMT hires), which we explained previously, he said. This year, we will be collecting for only one year of expenses, so the levy levels are back down again.
As part of the budget process, SKFR again incorporated the recommendations of the Community Budget Review Committee, which it first launched in 2005.
Before approving the budget, one of the commissioners asked about a substantial increase in the amount of money the district would be paying for local water response boats, such as to the cities of Bremerton and Port Orchard.
For the Port Orchard boat, Senter said his district is paying the average $500-600 to help with maintenance.
However, the increase was in the amount paid to Bremerton for their boat, which he said required substantial repairs to get it back in the water.
Senter said a planning committee of nine representatives three each from SKFR, Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and the Bremerton Fire Department have been chosen for future meetings to discuss the potential of forming a Regional Fire Authority. From SKFR, the representatives are commissioners Dusty Wiley, Darla Hartley and Gerald Preuss.