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No name change for FD7

After polling its members and considering all possible options, Fire District 7 has decided not to change its name — at least not right now.

The deciding factor, in the end, was the pricetag attached to such a move. If Fire District 7’s Board of Commissioners voted to approve a name change, it would also have to allocate enough money to change the district’s logo wherever it appeared — from the letterhead to the station signs. Even using a phased approach, which would have allowed many items to be changed as they needed to be replaced, the total cost was estimated at $25,000.

“I think with today’s economy and the needs of the fire district, these are non-essential,” said Fire Chief Mike Brown.

The decision came as a disappointment to many. According to a poll done earlier this year, 69 percent of district employees favored dumping Fire District 7 in favor of South Kitsap Fire and Rescue. The proposal was listed as a top priority at the district’s last planning retreat. With many firefighters and other personnel expressing irritation that the district’s formal name, Kitsap County Fire Protection District No. 7, was unwieldy and gave no clue as to where the district was located.

The size of the district, however, became a stumbling block. Although most smaller items could be replaced as needed, 2,000 uniform patches and 128 vehicle decals would need to be changed as soon as the renaming became official.

The pricetag for those purchases alone was estimated at $7,700.

Twenty station signs would have cost another $17,000 — a cost Brown said could be spread out over several years.

Fire Commissioner Dusty Wiley called the price estimates “reasonable” and said it was a shame the district couldn’t afford to move forward with the switch. During earlier discussions, Wiley expressed strong feelings against the current district insignia, particularly its use of blue. He wanted to use the name change as an excuse to change the logo from blue to something more “fire-like” such as red.

Commissioner Darla Hartley, however, said she didn’t regret keeping the district’s current name, at least for a while longer.

“I think our customers know who we are,” she said. “I think until we can do this financially, it’s better to wait.”

The commissioners voted unanimously to table the proposal, a move that allows them to revisit it at any future time.

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