While only a few Tracyton residents attended Monday’s meeting about the potential closure of the volunteer firehouse in Tracyton, a majority of those that did attend argued for keeping the station open.
“I don’t want to see it go,” Bob Kono said.
Bob and his wife, Kay Kono, have lived in Tracyton for 47 years and were both part of Tracyton’s Fire District 11 before a string of mergers that lead to today’s Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Bob was the assistant fire chief when he left the Tracyton Station in 1981, while Kay was a volunteer at the station for 11 years.
“It was the heart of the community,” Kay said.
Station 44, on Tracy Street, is the original building made from masonry blocks in 1963.
Now, it requires about $500,000 in repairs, according to a report by Paul Anderson, CKFR repair and maintenance manager.
Parking lot repairs and stormwater requirements would each cost an estimated $150,000 of that amount.
Other repairs included settling issues, electrical updates, chimney removal, kitchen remodeling and lighting, among others.
Tracyton resident Gary Keenan argued that the repair costs were estimated too high.
“I feel these numbers are grossly exaggerated,” he said. “I don’t feel like these are things that should be presented to us as things we need to do.”
Keenan also argued that the cost of keeping the station open is relatively inexpensive.
Basic utilities cost the district about $4,380 per year, but that does not include routine maintenance and upkeep, Anderson said.
Last year, CKFR reviewed its facilities and vehicles to determine what maintenance and repairs needed to be done, and where money should be invested while the district deals with balancing its budget.
CKFR projects a $1 million shortfall in its 2015 budget if expenses are not reduced.
A majority of the fire district’s revenue comes from levy’s based on assessed property values, which have been decreasing for the past six years, resulting in a loss of more than $2 million.
One Silverdale resident, Ed Stebor, suggested closing the Tracyton Station and selling the land to make money.
If this does happen, Bob Kono, who also lives close to the station, said he is concerned with what will happen to the land.
CKFR will be looking into and considering the station’s zoning location and how much the land could potentially make the district, according Fergus.
CKFR also is considering the community’s safety in the decision to potentially close the Tracyton Station.
Response times will not be significantly impacted, according to the district. Tracyton’s volunteer crews were the first on scene for about 60 of the 3,404 calls in their response area.
The station’s coverage area also overlaps with Meadowdale and North Perry Station 45 on Trenton Avenue. Both stations are staffed with career firefighters.
If the Tracyton Station closes, residents will not see a change in insurance rates because of the station overlaps, according to Ileana LiMarzi, CKFR public information officer.
And Tracyton Station volunteers will be reassigned to Meadowdale Station 41 on Old Military Road.
The district has not made a decision, Commissioner Dave Fergus stressed during Monday’s meeting, but the Tracyton Station will definitely be an agenda item in the future.
The next board meeting is April 14 at CKFR’s administration building.