Voters OK Central fire bond, but South Pierce falls short

kari.plog@thenewstribune.comNovember 27, 2013 

Firefighters at Central Pierce Station 73 in Downtown Puyallup do a cardio workout in the two-stall fire bay. The station also houses Puyallup Police Department headquarters. The fire district says the building, opened in 1968 and remodeled in 1993, is antiquated and the roof leaks during heavy rains.

DEAN J. KOEPFLER — Staff photographer

Final election results presented different outcomes for two Pierce County fire districts that hoped to generate revenue for new and improved fire stations.

Voters said yes to Central Pierce Fire & Rescue’s $39.8 million fire bond, which will help pay for three replacement fire stations and other upgrades in the district that covers 87 square miles in the Puyallup area.

But a $7.6 million bond request from South Pierce Fire & Rescue was rejected after falling short of the required 60 percent majority. Although it had enough votes for validation, it drew support from only 58 percent of voters.

Final tallies show about 66 percent voted in favor of the Central Pierce measure, more than the required 60 percent needed for approval. It drew 38,645 total votes, well above the 33,320 needed for validation.

South Pierce Fire & Rescue covers fewer people than Central Pierce but a larger, 138-square-mile area in the foothills of Mount Rainier. The fire district had planned to use the funds to help build a new headquarters station and remodel two others, as well as make smaller improvements districtwide.

South Pierce Fire Chief Bob Vellias said fire commissioners are considering putting the bond on the ballot again, among other options.

Despite the lack of a supermajority, he said everyone in the organization was encouraged by the overall support.

“We will continue to work on maintaining our existing buildings to the best of our ability with current funding,” he said in an email to The News Tribune.

“We still will need a long-term answer to upgrading our buildings.”

Kari Plog: 253-597-8682 @KariPlog

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