STAR, Idaho — Many fire departments across the Treasure Valley have been trying to play catch up with the growth, but the Star Fire Protection District is trying to get ahead of it.
The district is asking voters to approve a $4 million bond on Nov. 5. The money raised would renovate the district’s administration building into a fully-functioning fire station.
The fire district and the city of Star purchased the building for just under $2 million late last year. It is located off of State Street on the west side of town.
For more than three decades though, the fire district has operated out of the building right next to city hall, also on State Street.
“The current fire station was built in 1985,” Fire Chief Greg Timinsky said. “And it was originally built for volunteers. It had living quarters upstairs for somebody to stay there overnight.”
The station was designed to house one person, but right now it houses four - 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
“Its tight,” Timinsky said. “So, there’s not enough room for them.”
Last November, the city and the fire district purchased a 36,000 square foot building for $1.9 million. It was an old manufacturing building, so it isn’t yet ready to be used as a fire station.
“We’re asking for the bond to buy the city’s interest of the building out and to do the complete remodel,” Timinsky said.
The remodel is necessary, according to Timinsky, because the new building wasn’t designed as a fire station. The district would need to put in bedrooms for the firefighters, a shower area, a kitchen area, doors for the trucks and engines to get in and out of, and a community room.
With any bond though, the question most taxpayers want to know is how it is going to change their property tax bill.
“So, if you have a $300,000 home and you had a $100,000 tax exemption, you’d pay your taxes on $200,000 and it would cost you $22 a year,” Timinsky said.
If the district can renovate the new building, Timinsky said they will be able to better handle the growth the city is experiencing.
“This building will be able to facilitate having more engines, more trucks or whatever is needed in the future,” he said. “This building will hold it for them.”
The goal is to have the station up and running by fall 2020 if the bond is approved. The bond needs two-thirds of voters to say ‘yes’ for it to pass.
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