The price of public safety in Bellevue, a lawmaker is proposing a bond measure. The money would be used to buy new equipment for the fire department. However, it would end up costing residents, money.
Bellevue city councilman Pat Shannon says the fire department needs $10,000,000 worth of new equipment including ambulances and fire trucks. Voters may be asked to approve a bond issue which the city would pay two million dollars a year for five years. Shannon says the last time the city spent money on new equipment for the fire department was in 1992 and now it's showing its age. Right now, three out of the four fire stations have an ambulance, and Shannon says one is on its last legs. “This can has been kicked down the road for 20 years and it's time to fix it now,” said Shannon.
If the city council decides to put the $10,000,000 public safety bond issue on the November ballot, residents will decide if they are willing to pay $30 a year per $100,000 of assessed value. Shannon says rather than raising taxes this bond is the way to go. “Taxes are permanent, nobody ever gives up a tax, but the bond goes away automatically by itself,” he said.
City Administrator, Joe Mangiamelli disagrees with this approach. “My initial thought is that it is a knee-jerk reaction to a much bigger problem,” said Mangiamelli, “bond issues like this are very important to the community and you need to do it right."
Mangiamelli says a more comprehensive plan needs to be developed because the outcome of this proposal could affect future bond elections if not handled properly. However, some residents say $30 a year is a minimum they would be happy to pay. “There's more advanced technology that can be used and that's more effective against fighting fires and saving people's lives and I think we need that,” said David Chapman Jr. “I think if $30 a year can cover everything, that's a good price."
Council member Shannon will present his proposal to the city council on Monday. The city council has until September fourth to approve it in order for the public safety bond referendum to get on the November ballot.