There were more than a few sighs of relief at some local fire stations after the results of Tuesday’s primary election were announced.
Spokane County Fire District 9 and the Spokane Valley Fire Department both had replacement maintenance and operations levies on the ballot that accounted for more than half their annual budget. Both levies passed with flying colors, getting about 68 percent of the vote.
“We were pleased, very pleased,” said Valley Fire Chief Mike Thompson. “I was right online at 8:45 when they posted the first results.”
Thompson confessed to a certain amount of relief as well. The fire department has always been well supported by the community but the troubled economy created some uncertainty about whether the levy would pass, he said. “It was the fear of the unknown.”
The Spokane Valley Fire Department’s firefighter’s union went all out in support of the levy, purchasing billboards and airing a television commercial. They also stood on busy street corners and waved signs supporting the levy. Thompson said he did get a few calls asking if taxpayer money was being used for the ads and he told the callers it was not. “It was the union’s political action committee,” he said.
District 9 Fire Chief Bob Anderson said he was pleased with the levy results as well.
“At least for the next couple of years we’re able to plan on continuing the existing services to the community,” he said. “To have that level of support in these tough economic times is amazing and very appreciated.”