Twin Falls staff asks council for fire bond recommendations, presents two more options

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TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - Twin Falls city staff went to the council meeting Monday night, asking for direction and recommendations on what to do moving forward with another fire station bond. They presented two new options.

City Council meeting on July 8 discussing the fire station bonds (KMVT image)

In May, the city pursued a $36 million bond to construct three new fire stations, remodel the current fire station No. 1 for future police expansion as well as getting a training facility.

However, the bond did not pass at 63.45 percent when they needed a super majority vote of 66.67 percent.

Monday night, staff presented three options.

The first being the same as the one presented in the May election, however instead use $1 million from their impact fees to reduce the cost of the bond, dropping the cost to $35 million for taxpayers.

Option two was to leave station No. 1 as it is now, which will remove $5 million from the original proposed bond.

They would then build new stations No. 2 and No 3 and add a station No. 5 that would be located in the northeast area of the city.

Brian Pike, the deputy city manager, said that station No. 5 would not be what they consider fully staffed until later.

They also removed the training facility from the bond.

For option two, the total will be $25.6 million and using $1 million of impact fees to reduce the amount to $24.6 million for taxpayers on the ballot.

The third option is to leave station No. 1 as it is, build new stations No. 2 and No. 3 and remove the fire training facility from the bond.

This will then bring the cost to $16.8 million. Again, with $1 million paid for by the impact fees again so $15.8 million would be presented to the taxpayers.

"Everyone recommends that if you decide to move forward with this process, November is probably the time, and you can understand that those reasons why, right?," Pike said. "We've worked really hard. We've got some forward progress, we want to build upon the work of the fire station committee, we want to apply the lessons we've learned from the May election and really continue the community conversation."

However, council decided they want more information as there are many variables that could play into how much it could cost taxpayers. This includes possibly extending the bond to 25 or 35 years instead of 20 years to help lessen the payment amount on residents.

Some council members were concerned with pursuing the bond for November, as the county is looking to have a jail and courthouse bond on the ballot as well.

Council decided to table the discussion until about either Aug 5. or Aug 12, so they can get more of their questions and concerns answered by staff internally and make a more educated decision about if they should move forward with a bond and what option to pursue.

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