Stevens County Fire Protection District #1 Commissioners to consider fire station closures at community forums
Stevens County Fire Protection District No.1 Board of Fire Commissioners has scheduled two community forums to discuss the current financial state of the Fire District and the impact on emergency response. The Fire Commissioners are seeking public input on a number of options under consideration including a small levy increase or fire station closures. The meetings will take place on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at the Loon Lake School in Loon Lake and Thursday, April 30, 2009, at Lakeside Middle School in Suncrest. Both meetings will start at 7pm. The Fire District covers southern Stevens County and serves the communities of Clayton, Loon Lake, Deer Lake, Springdale, Ford, Tum Tum, Williams Valley and Suncrest. It has eight fire stations, daytime staffing of five career firefighters and 70 volunteers.
“The current fire budget is like watching a train wreck about to happen,” stated Commissioner Bill Madison, when commenting recently about the state of the fire district's fiscal picture. “There has to be a significant change to the district's financial picture, either through a property Tax lid-lift or fire station closures. Current revenue is not sufficient to even allow us to maintain what we are currently doing or to replace aging equipment, let alone grow and improve. We have over $300,000 in safety equipment needs that the manufacturers will no longer support and we can't afford to replace. Our water tenders are falling apart; last year five of our water tenders broke down during one fire.”
Fire Commissioner Dean Westerman stated “Those residents living near the fire stations at Suncrest, Ford, Deer Lake, Loon Lake, Twin Mountain, and Stonelodge/Tum Tum need to be aware that those fire stations are under consideration for closure.”
Fire Commissioner Skip Wells noted, “ fire station closures do not just impact response times to emergencies, but they also greatly impact the rates property owners pay for fire insurance.”
Members of the community are encouraged to attend the forums as the fire district is seeking input on these important service delivery issues that will directly impact thousands of fire district residents. The Loon Lake School is located at 4001 Maple Street, Loon Lake, WA. The meeting will be held in the cafeteria. The Lakeside Middle School is located at 6169 HWY 291, Nine Mile Falls, WA. The meeting will be held in the auditorium.