December 22, 2006
Contact: Ron McAffee
Phone: (360) 307-5800
Kitsap County 911
and Emergency Operations Center Makes Final Payment on New Facility
County CENCOM (911) and the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) have
more to celebrate this year than just the holiday season. On December 7,
2006, the final bond loan payment of $2,437,800 was made on their new
facility, and the building is now free and clear of any debt.
“That was what we
committed to do in 2002 when we borrowed the money to build the new
facility," said Emergency Management Director Phyllis Mann. "We are very
pleased to have met that commitment."
CENCOM Director Ron
McAffee concurred: "This
is what we told the citizens we would do during the campaign for the tax
initiative, and we are happy to report that we have kept our promise."
Shortly after the
Nisqually Earthquake in April of 2001, CENCOM asked the voters of
to support a $10.5 million property tax lid lift to construct a new 911 and
Operations Center. The purpose of the levy lid lift was to provide funding
to replace the existing 911 facility that suffered severe damage during the
earthquake and could potentially collapse in the next big
earthquake. Fortunately, the citizens of
recognized the peril of the situation, and in 2002 they passed a $10.5
Million five-year property tax initiative. In 2003, voters approved another
initiative that allowed authority for a 1/10th of 1% sales tax
increase to provide a long-term, reliable funding source for CENCOM and
eliminate the remaining three years of the property tax lid lift.
In addition to the
questionable structural integrity of the old building, another major
incentive to find a new home for CENCOM was lack of adequate space to
function efficiently and effectively. According to McAffee:
“The simple fact was that we had been out of room for more than ten years
and our equipment was getting older by the day."
Kitsap County dispatch
center was housed in a 5,000 square foot facility tacked onto the old Warren
Avenue toll booth facility in Bremerton. Since the building was first
constructed in 1975, the dispatch had been remodeled no fewer than three
times. Despite that, after 30 years of service the facility was cramped and
the communications system was in major need of an upgrade.
Planning for the new
facility began in early 2002, when Rice Fergus Miller Architects in
joined a team comprised of personnel from CENCOM and DEM, along with the
county’s Project Management Team. The goal was to construct an all-new
facility that would meet all of CENCOM’s and DEM’s current and future needs.
Most importantly, the new building would be constructed to modern seismic
code standards. The state-of-the-art new building was commissioned on May
10, 2005. The floor space is split roughly 1/3 to 2/3rds, with CENCOM
occupying approximately 16,000 square feet and the remaining 4,000 square
feet devoted to DEM
“It took us a little
over three years to get the facility constructed and all the equipment
installed, and we did it all within budget," said McAffee. "The new facility
has been operating 24 hours per day ever since it was dedicated."
Now that the new CENCOM/DEM
facility has been paid off with the 1/10th of 1% sales tax
revenues, CENCOM can concentrate on its campaign promise to reduce fees
charged to cities, the county and fire districts for 911 and dispatch
services and upgrading critical communications equipment for police, fire
and emergency medical responders. With the 2007 budget year, the fees that
police, fire and emergency medical jurisdictions pay for CENCOM services
will have been reduced by up to 25%.