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North Bend floats counter-proposal for new fire hall
The North Bend City Council is working on a counterproposal to King County Fire District 38’s proposition splitting the cost of a new North Bend fire station.
City and fire district officials met this spring to discuss a District 38 offer to share responsibility for Fire Station 87 with North Bend. Last Tuesday, April 27, the council approved North Bend City Administrator Duncan Wilson’s changes to District 38’s proposal. Changes dealt with the division of costs, ownership and a contribution toward the purchase of land.
Fire officials originally proposed halving construction costs up to $2.5 million per party. North Bend suggested a 60/40 split with a higher cap for the fire district.
“We didn’t feel comfortable with how they proposed it,” Wilson said. “We were also uncomfortable with the fact that over 60 percent of accessed value that is serviced by this station is in the district, so we said $2.5 million was inadequate.”
Under the city’s proposal, the district would pay 60 percent of costs of construction, up to a $3 million cap.
In its original proposal, the district asked for five years of joint ownership; after that, ownership reverts to the city. In return, the district would have a perpetual license, giving them access to the building indefinitely.
Wilson said the council prefers limiting that license to 25 years.
“That could potentially be longer if we are still operating jointly in 25 years,” Wilson said. “The difference between perpetuity and providing a guaranteed 25-year home (is) justified by the amount of money they are putting into it.”
If after 15 years North Bend is not happy with the facilities, or if they are inadequate to needs, the city will have the choice of continuing operations outside the building or walking away and handing the keys to District 38, while remaining in compliance with their agreement.
“Basically, it ties us at the hip with them for 25 years,” Wilson said. “We have to provide them with this or better facilities to operate for that period of time in exchange for the money they put in.”
The city is also asking the district to pay for 60 percent of the value of land purchased for the new station, up to $200,000.
North Bend is considering siting the station on 10 acres of city-owned land on Maloney Grove Road between North Bend and Cedar Falls Way, west of the city public works property. North Bend purchased the property in the early 1990s as a future municipal campus and fire station.
The district’s proposal stated a willingness to pay for land if North Bend had to buy new property, but would not pay for land already owned by the city.
Wilson said he and Mayor Ken Hearing believe that it shouldn’t matter if the city already owns the land.
“It’s appropriate that they share the expenses and pay a portion,” he said.
With their counter-proposal now in the hands of fire commissioners, the city plans a special meeting on Tuesday, May 11, with commissioners to discuss comments to their proposal.
Commissioners at Fire District 38 recieved the counter-proposal on Friday, April 30, and are planning to have a meeting to discuss and formulate a response back to North Bend, said Ron Pedee, Fire District 38 commissioner.
North Bend and District 38 are two separate entities of five parties to the interlocal agreement that created Eastside Fire and Rescue.
Other members include Fire District 10, Sammamish and Issaquah.