Willow (AK) Fire Department Getting New Station Despite Opposition

A $200,000 loan from the Matanuska-Susitna Borough will help Willow get a new fire station at Nancy Lake over the protests of the local board that runs the area’s fire service

The new station is part of a larger conflict between the Willow Fire Department and the three-member board of supervisors. Responders last month issued a “letter of discontent” accusing the board of not backing the new station or higher property taxes necessary to upgrade the department’s aging equipment and buildings.

Willow’s fire service area has the lowest tax rate of any in the borough — $1.34for every $1,000 of assessed property value — though it’s the second largest in size.

The $200,000 loan approved by the borough Assembly allows the WillowFire Service Area to buy an existing Nancy Lake building at Mile 64.4 of the Parks Highway. The money comes out of the service area’s revolving loan fund and triggers $40,000 no-interest payments over a 5-year period.

The location is prime for a warm storage station, a satellite to the main firehouse 5 miles up the Parks Highway that’s “in major disrepair and it has been recommended that the building be demolished due to its age and potentially dangerous condition,” according to a memo from loan sponsor Vern Halter, who represents Willow on the Assembly.

The borough in December received a $600,000 state grant for the Nancy Lakestation, but needed to find other funds to buy the building. Along with improving local response time, borough emergency officials and Willow firefighters say theNancy Lake station should lead to lower homeowners’ insurance premiums.

For more information, view insurancenewsnet.com



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