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Voters approve Drexel Heights Fire District sale of $8 million in bonds

Voters approve Drexel Heights Fire District sale of $8 million in bonds

Drexel Heights Fire District

Included in the $8 million Drexel Heights bond issue are an administration and training facility and a new fire station.

Voters strongly supported Drexel Heights Fire District’s request to sell $8 million in bonds for construction and improvements, results released Tuesday night show.

The bond proposal was leading 68 percent to 32 percent in unofficial results. An unknown number of ballots were still to be counted by the county, but they weren’t expected to change the outcome.

The picture was split Tuesday night in other fire district elections:

  • Picture Rocks Fire & Medical District’s request for a temporary budget override was turned down, 58 percent to 42 percent.
  • Avra Valley Fire District’s request for a temporary levy override was narrowly ahead, 51 percent to 49 percent.
Drexel Heights Fire District

The Drexel Heights Governing Board requested that it sell $8 million in general-obligation bonds for projects including the construction of an administration and training facility, a new fire station and the remodeling of a second station. It also is seeking to replace two pumper trucks.

In an earlier interview, Fire Chief Douglas Chappell said the two stations slated for replacement or renovation are “in need of safety-related enhancements to protect the firefighters who live in the stations 24 hours a day.”

The district also needs adequate training facilities for firefighters to continue to refine their knowledge and skills, said Chappell. The aging fleet also needs to be replaced.

Drexel Heights’ annual operating budget is about $10 million; it employs 81 firefighters and five civilian workers. The cost to each property owner will be about $30 a year for an average home in the district.

The district covers 60 square miles and has about 50,000 residents. The boundaries are roughly the Tucson Mountains on the north and the Tohono O’odham Nation on the south, and South Mission Road on the east to West Valencia Road where it dead ends at the Ajo Highway on the west.

Picture Rocks Fire & Medical District

The Picture Rocks Board of Directors asked for a temporary budget override for five years that would bring in about $80,000 annually to maintain services and fire trucks. The measure was defeated Tuesday night.

Picture Rocks’ annual operating budget is $1.8 million; the district employs 22 firefighters and two civilian workers.

Avra Valley Fire District

The Avra Valley Governing Board requested to be allowed to adopt a temporary levy override for five years to generate about $120,000 annually for the district to maintain firefighter jobs, its vehicles and to purchase medical equipment and safety gear. The measure was ahead by a narrow margin with ballots still to be counted.

Avra Valley’s annual operating budget is $3.9 million; it employs 42 firefighters and two civilian workers.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar

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Carmen started at the Star in 1981 and covers the aging population. She wrote “Mama’s Santos: An Arizona Life”, a book about the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in the Southwest through stories about her family. It won 11 awards.

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