County to look for other ways to fund expanded fire services

By Staff

Sturgeon County – Sturgeon Valley residents are in favour of improving the level of fire protection service available to them but are not as eager to foot the bill for it, according to data compiled over the summer.

Sturgeon County Council accepted as information Tuesday the Sturgeon Valley Fire Protection Consultation Report that was put together over the past 22 months, five months of which was spent over the past summer gathering additional data through an online survey.

Council heard 179 Sturgeon Valley residents took the online survey between June 1 and Sept. 20. Of that number, 71 per cent said improving the level of fire protection service in Sturgeon County was important to them. However, only 50 per cent of respondents were in favour of the County introducing a local improvement levy to enhance fire protection services. The majority of respondents willing to pay an annual fee for increased fire services over the next 15 years were not prepared to pay more than $300 per year. Seventy-three per cent of respondents selected $0 to $300 per year as a reasonable rate, while only two per cent of respondents were prepared to pay in excess of $800 per year to improve fire services in the area. In total, 60 per cent of those who took the survey were not in favour of the project as proposed.

Sturgeon County estimates the cost of improving fire services in Sturgeon Valley could cost $10 million, a figure that would include the construction of a new fire station. The proposed project sought to fund the initiative through an $8 million local improvement tax and a $2 million debenture.

With only 40 per cent of respondents in favour of the project as proposed, Sturgeon County Council directed administration to come back to the table with some funding alternatives.

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