Since a recent decision made by Council to explore the amalgamation of Fire Stations 4 (Ridgeway) and 6 (Crystal Beach), some misinformation regarding a potential 9% increase to the general tax levy has been floating around the community. The following should help provide further insight into the municipal processes as well as the next steps.
On Feb 5, Town Council directed staff to provide further guidance regarding the reorganization and modernization of the fire service in town. Prior to proceeding with construction, Town staff has to provide Council with options as to the location of a new station and a funding strategy with respect to how the construction would be paid for.
Aside from some savings from a reduction from two stations to one, such as a reduction in the number of fire trucks and apparatus required, there will be two buildings that the Town will sell. The funds from these sales will be applied to the construction of a new station. The Town also has capital reserve funds (money previously set aside) for this type of major capital project. The sources of the balance of money required will be the subject of the funding strategy. In addition, the funds will likely be accumulated over a period of time prior to construction and staff will look for government grant funding in order to minimize the impact on the Town finances. Be assured that the Town will not be paying for a new fire station through an increased tax levy alone or all once.
Staff Report FES-01-18 (February 5, 2018) Construction of a New Fire Station in the Ridgeway & Crystal Beach Area, amalgamating two existing fire stations into one new station