Safety bond receives overwhelming approval

Bremerton residents voted overwhelmingly to support the public safety bond, Proposition 1, at the Sept. 17 primary.

The bond allows residents to contribute to the city’s revitalization efforts by paying property taxes for police and fire upgrades, Mayor Cary Bozeman said.

“What they’re saying is we’re important enough for them to reach into their wallets and support us,” said assistant Fire Chief Mick McKinley.

“Their quality of life is increased and insured by a well-prepared police and fire department,” he added.

The public safety measure, which needed a 60 percent majority to pass, was approved by just over 65 percent of voters.

Out of Bremerton’s 14,668 who are registered, 4,342 voted on the measure.

Now that the bond has passed, the city can purchase, remodel and equip the US Bank Building on Pacific Avenue for the police department, purchase six new patrol cars, construct a new fire station and purchase three new fire trucks and a ladder truck.

The total on the bond, generated by about $4.90 a month in property taxes for each homeowner, will be $12,979,000.

The Police and Fire Department should be moved in to their new location by spring of 2004 at the earliest and September 2004 at the latest, McKinley predicted.

Since the bond was first presented at City Council, Police Chief Rob Forbes, Fire Chief Al Duke and Mayor Cary Bozeman have made public appearances answering questions and explaining why the upgrades are necessary.

Currently, the fire and police buildings are old and cramped, and manufacturers have vowed not to repair the city’s 30-year old ladder truck because of liability concerns.

The bond guarantees funding for public safety in a time that city and county governments have sizeable budget shortfalls.

In a city-conducted telephone survey of over 4,000 residents July 15, 71 percent agreed that we need to do whatever we can to support police and fire services, even if it means paying higher taxes.

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