The Chehalis City Council, on Monday afternoon, approved a bond not to exceed $1.725 million for the purchases of land to build the new fire station located at 1380 SW State Ave., and preparation costs for the temporary station to house the firefighters and equipment during construction.
The purchase price of the land is $1.2 million and the purchasing agreement has been submitted by the city to the seller but has not yet been returned. The other 525,000 will be used for the preparation of the long-term temporary fire station location, including the temporary fire station buildings — mobile housing structures and a fire apparatus bay to protect the fire engines.
“The value in land in Chehalis and in this area is going up. It also has access to I-5. It’s not in the floodplain and that makes it pretty valuable,” said Chehalis City Manager Jill Anderson. “In addition, for a permanent fire station site, this piece of the property met several criteria including having easy access to Chamber Way — making it so that firefighters can access either side of the city without the impediment of the railroad.”
The purchase of the land and the site preparations will be funded through a Limited-Tax Obligation General Bond, which can be approved by the city council. This type of private placement bond is paid for through existing city revenue — mainly through the real estate excise tax (REET) fund which funds capital projects and real estate purchases.
The first quarter REET fund dollars are collected through a state-regulated tax that is collected when real estate in the city is sold.
“It’s essentially a loan. The city needs money and we’re selling bonds to raise the money and we agree to pay those back with a certain amount of interest over a certain amount of time,” said Anderson.
The bond has a 15-year maturity term and the interest rate is not to exceed 4 percent.
The 1.95-acre piece of property where the future Chehalis Fire Station will be built is located at 1380 SW State Ave. off of Chamber Way. Anderson said that the reason for the high price of the land is increasing property value in Chehalis, the prime location off of Interstate 5, the existing utilities and that the land is not in the floodplain.
The city will now prepare requests for proposals from banks and investors to fund the bond and then the city will look over the proposals and choose the ones that best fit the city’s needs.
Anderson said that she anticipates that the proposals will be returned and the bond will be closed by Oct. 1 and the close of sale on the $1.2-million piece of property will occur on Oct. 5.
The city is still waiting on the return of the purchasing agreement for the piece of property but Anderson said that she anticipates it will be returned to the city soon.