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November 19, 2019 | 2:54pm
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WCFD7 gets 2 big wins with FEMA grant and lower bond rate

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FERNDALE, Wash. — Whatcom County Fire District 7 (WCFD7) recently received an Assistance to Firefighters Grant (AFG) and learned their higher than expected credit rating results in a lower property tax for their voter approved bond.

WCFD7 Fire Chief Larry Hoffman announced today they have been awarded a FEMA grant in the AFG Program. The grant of $485,692 will be used to purchase new self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) that will replace soon to be out-dated units. The breathing apparatus protect firefighters when they enter hazardous atmosphere.

The AFG Program provides $345 million in Fire and EMS Operations and Safety Grants, Firefighting and Emergency Vehicle Grants and Fire Prevention and Safety Grants from $1,000 to nearly $1 million.

Other Whatcom County fire districts receiving Assistance to Firefighters Grants include WCFD17 ($18,654) and Bellingham Fire District ($318,440).

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WCFD7 also announced S&P Global Ratings awarded them a credit rating of AA (a step below AAA which is the top rating). This means property tax payers will not have to pay as high a tax as was initially projected due to the lower interest rate, 2.27%, locked in for the bond issue.

According to Hoffman, it was initially projected that a property assessed at $350,000 would be taxed $24.50 per year. With the lower than expected interest rate, that amount is now $17.50.

WCFD7’s $3.5 million bond issue will enable replacing 16-year-old trucks and equipment.

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  1. Helpful to see how much some equipment costs. Doubt many county residents know that fire vehicles now cost close to $500k each and need replacing in less than 20 yrs.

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