Levy's passage ensures station upgrades

FALL CITY - Although the final results were close, King County Fire Protection District 27 will get the money needed to renovate its fire station.

When the initial returns from the Nov. 6 election came in, there was no doubt where a majority of district residents' sympathies lay. With more than 70 percent of the vote supporting a $2.4 million tax levy, proponents of the levy felt its passage was in the bag.

But their enthusiasm was soon tempered by the number of overall ballots cast. In order for the levy to be validated, at least 40 percent of those who voted in the last general election, or 1,348 voters, needed to cast ballots this year. When results from the King County Records and Elections Division showed the total coming in below the number needed, the levy's demise seemed plausible.

But as the days passed, the total number of votes steadily went up, and the number approving the levy remained above 70 percent. When the election results were certified by King County last Wednesday, the levy received 991 votes supporting it, about 71.1 percent of the 1,393 votes cast.

"I'm delighted that it passed," said District 27 Fire Chief Chris Connor. "There wasn't really any opposition to it."

The $2.4 million will be accrued with an additional 35 cents paid by district property owners for every $1,000 of assessed valuation they own.

Plans for improving the fire station call for additional space so it can eventually house firefighters on a 24-hour basis, and provide more storage space for the six full-time and 15 volunteer firefighters stationed out of the building.

The plans for the fire station are still in the preliminary stages, but once they are completed they will be put out to bid sometime next year. Connor said he doesn't expect construction to start until the latter part of 2002, and hopes the station will be completed sometime in the spring of 2004.

Connor said the passage of Initiative 747 has had little to no effect on his district and that the levy will not be making up for funds lost due to the anti-tax initiative.

"We don't have a problem right now," Connor said. "At some point in the future that may become an issue."

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