Bond: Capital Facilities Projects

Facilities Bond Update

The Board of Fire Commissioners for Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One (GHFMO) has placed a facilities bond on the August 2, 2022 Primary Election ballot. The Gig Harbor community has grown by more than 16% since 2010. Call volumes have increased 37% in the same time period. Emergency medical service accounts for 78% of all calls.

The Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously approved a Capital Facilities Plan in December of 2021. Priority projects for the bond include renovating or replacing some fire stations and building a live fire training facility. The purpose of these projects is to improve public safety, and the health and safety of our firefighters.

Stations 53 (Fox Island), 57 (Crescent Valley), 58 (Swede Hill), and 59 (Artondale) are scheduled for improvements. Some stations do not meet ADA requirements, or current seismic standards. They also lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a diverse work force.

Just as important as improving public safety is providing a healthier work environment for emergency personnel. Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some of stations lack decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and toxic chemicals from firefighting gear. There is also a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment used at EMS calls.

The Fire District has no facility for regular live fire trainings. This means firefighters may only train on live fire once every three years and must leave the area to perfect these life and property-saving skills. The training facility would be constructed on land owned by the Fire District adjacent to Station 58 (Swede Hill).

Station 51 in Gig Harbor is the Fire District’s busiest station. The Capital Facilities Plan calls for replacing the current station at the same location to accommodate additional personnel and modern emergency apparatus.

The bond would last for 20-years and is projected to cost $9.90 per month for the owner of a $500,000 home. Please note that the assessed value of your home is lower than its market value. Interest rates are still low, and the financial health of the Fire District helps ensure a favorable finance rate.

The Fire District will share more information as it becomes available. Questions are always welcome! Please contact Fire Chief Dennis Doan at DDoan@gigharborfire.org or (253) 851-3111.

Capital Facilities Bond Proposal - August 2022
In The News

Council Endorses Fire Bond (last section in article) – Gig Harbor Now, June 17, 2022

Frequently Asked Questions:

Gig Harbor Fire & Medic One (GHFMO) is asking voters to consider a bond on the August 2nd ballot to improve facilities and the health and safety of our community and its firefighters, as well as shelter emergency apparatus.  The timing is favorable with lower interest rates, and the financial health of GHFMO helps to ensure a favorable finance rate.

The bond would construct a fire training facility on land owned by the Fire District adjacent to Station 58 (Swede Hill). Stations 53 (Fox Island), 57 (Crescent Valley), 58 (Swede Hill), and 59 (Artondale) are scheduled for renovations. Station 51 in Gig Harbor is the Fire District’s busiest station, and would be replaced at the same location.

The Fire District has no facility for regular live fire trainings. This means firefighters may only train with live fire once every three years and must leave the area to do so. A local fire training facility would ensure firefighters train more often, and perfect these life and property-saving skills.

Some stations do not meet ADA requirements, or current seismic standards. They lack living quarters to accommodate current and projected staffing levels, and a diverse work force. Renovations to stations will improve our ability to respond to emergencies, and ensure our facilities can withstand an earthquake.

Cancer is known to be a leading cause of death among firefighters. Some of our stations lack decontamination areas to remove soot, hydrocarbons and toxic chemicals from firefighting gear. There is also a need for space to decontaminate medical equipment after EMS calls.

Many stations are too small to shelter modern apparatus needed for emergency calls, which leaves these investments exposed to weather and reduces their life span.

GHFMO funds daily operations with a fire levy and an EMS levy capped at $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value. Bonds are used for capital items, such as fire stations and emergency apparatus. We are unable to fund capital projects from our operating levies without significantly cutting emergency service levels.

The bond would last for 20-years and is projected to cost the owner of a $500,000 home (considered the average for our community) $9.90 per month, or $118.80 per year. (The calculation rate is $0.238 per $1,000 of assessed property value.) Please note that the assessed value of your property is lower than its market value. Interest rates are low, and the financial health of GHFMO helps ensure a favorable finance rate.

Fire Chief Dennis Doan also is available to answer questions at DDoan@Gigharborfire.org or (253) 851-3111. Thank you for considering our request.

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