Boise residents Tuesday approved by a wide margin a bond to build new fire stations. Seventy-six percent of voters said yes to borrowing $17 million over 10 years. The city plans to upgrade or replace four Boise fire stations and build a new training facility.
“That facility is very needed,” says Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “We haven’t had a training facility in Boise that’s useable in over 20 years, at least. That’ll be a great safety feature for our fire fighters.”
Doan says right now the only way to train with real fire in Boise is to burn an abandoned house. Doan says that’s not a safe way to practice.
“We’re excited to have a facility where we can control the fire,” he says. “Whether it be through sprinklers or maybe we have gas flames that we can shut off. We’ll have places that we can use combustibles that will generate a lot of smoke. And it’ll feel to the rookie firefighter just like a real fire.”
A similar bond last year came up short of getting the two-thirds super-majority needed to pass. Doan says this time, the city did a better job educating citizens about the bond.
Despite borrowing the $17 million at 2 percent interest, city officials say it will not result in any tax increases for residents. City accountants say the money will come from savings created by a change in firefighter retirement plans.
Find Adam Cotterell on Twitter @cotterelladam
Copyright 2014 Boise State Public Radio