Images of Kitsap County
Public Communications (MS-11)
614 Division Street, Port Orchard, WA
Phone: 360.337.4598
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Date: December 22, 2006
Contact: Ron McAffee
Phone: (360) 307-5800

No. 06-109

Kitsap County 911 and Emergency Operations Center Makes Final Payment on New Facility

PORT ORCHARD, WA—Kitsap 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 Kitsap County to support a $10.5 million property tax lid lift to construct a new 911 and County Emergency 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 Kitsap County 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."

The original 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 Bremerton 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%. 
 


To contact the Kitsap County Public Information Office, 
call PJ Callahan at 360-337-4481 or email: pjramos@co.kitsap.wa.us

Last Updated:  May 27, 2014