The Sunnyside City Council passed two ordinances last night that establish a capital projects fund to pay for the new fire station construction.
The establishment of the fund follows a 1993 precedent that created a fund to pay for the Law and Justice Center construction. The fire department fund will make the accounting easier, according to city accountant Tim Jensen.
The proposed ordinances created the fund and then added $400,000 to it as a loan from the Ambulance/EMS fund to pay for the land and preliminary design of the fire station addition and upgrades.
Council member Don Vlieger questioned the amount being loaned, asking why the city had already spent so much money on a project that hasn't been funded yet. The levy to raise funds for the fire station construction has not even been put on the ballot yet.
Jensen and city manager Mark Gervasi explained that the majority of the funds went to the land purchase, with another "$90,000 plus," according to Jensen, going to the architects. The reason for the high cost is the challenges in upgrading the current station.
After the vote on the second ordinance had passed, Vlieger asked about current and future costs that the project would incur, and argued again that the city has already paid too much.
"$400,000 is too much to put on a bet," Vlieger said, referring to the levy that will go before voters in 2012.