Rules Committee forwards $205 million proposal to accelerate construction of new fire stations in San Diego
SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The Rules Committee forwarded a proposed ballot measure to the City Council to raise bond funds for fire station construction in San Diego. The proposal calls for two bonds totaling $205 million of funding to build 20 fire stations in strategic locations to reduce response times in areas where it takes longer than the standard of 7 minutes, 30 seconds.
The bonds would raise property taxes and therefore would need two-thirds voter approval in the November general election in order to be passed. San Diego underwent went a consultation in 2010 that concluded the city needed 19 additional fire stations, with 10 of them considered crucial to the infrastructure.
The city is currently on pace to build one new fire station every five years, according to Councilwoman Marti Emerald. It would take nearly a century to build the 20 stations, but funding from the bond measure would drastically cut the time needed down to a decade. The average cost of a new station is $10 million, according to city officials. The price does vary depending on whether the city owns the land they plan on constructing the station, property values and topography.
The average homeowner would pay $5 for every $100,000 in assessed value, according to Emerald, adding up to an additional $25 per year. Emerald has been active in meeting with community groups around San Diego to build support for the proposal.
Details of where these new fire stations will be built will not be available to voters prior to balloting, however. The consultant group that made the first set of observations in 2010 has been rehired by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department to update the situation. That report is not scheduled to be completed until October, which will be too close to the election for city officials to provide the information ahead of time. Advances in technology could alter the priorities, locations and number of stations needed to improve coverage in San Diego.