Fire District 1 Seeks Borough Loan

logo-w-sunburstKayla Desroches/KMXT

The Fire District 1 Board hopes to get a loan from the Kodiak Island Borough Assembly and direct it to the Bayside Volunteer Fire Department’s new tanker and engine.

Board chairman Paul Van Dyke sat before the assembly at its work session last night to speak on behalf of Bayside, which recently got assembly approval for the purchase of its new equipment with a price tag of roughly $830,000.

Van Dyke gave a presentation on the district’s strategic fiscal plan and explained that the district could cover the entire purchase amount, but would prefer if the borough could help with half.

He said the loan would open it up to dedicate funds to many other projects that need attention.

“As you drive by, you’ll see that we’re not just one building, but we are several buildings on the campus there. Things that were discussed were deferred maintenance to the campus, missing equipment – firefighting equipment – and outdated firefighting gear, all of which we feel could significantly affect the response of the station.”

Assemblymen gave Van Dyke credit for his thorough presentation, but were hesitant to grant the request considering the fiscal climate. Assemblyman Dave Townsend said he was not in favor of allowing a service district to go into debt.

“We’ve got the money in the bank, or you guys have the money in the bank… Spending taxpayer money on interest is something I can’t accept.”

Larry LeDoux agreed, and said he couldn’t support such a loan at this time.

“We’re going into the unknown and to make a commitment to loan money when we don’t know how much money we have and the money we have comes from the public doesn’t seem like good governance. And so, it seems like you have a good idea at the wrong time. At least fiscally, for me.”

The new tanker and fire engine are set to arrive in a year, and so that’s around how long the assembly has to change its mind.

Van Dyke said there are also a couple of grants the board has applied for that could help Bayside with the costs of some of its projects. Those around the table agreed that they could consider the matter again at a later time.

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