SF mayor proposes $628M bond to improve emergency services

San Francisco opened the doors to a new fire house Wednesday. Station 5 is now open after a complete rebuild. The mayor is pointing to the new fire house as a reason to pass a new round of bonds aimed at improving the city's emergency services.

With a snip of the scissors the mayor, fire chief and city leaders officially opened Fire Station 5. The mayor said the new fire station was built using bond money raised to make sure the city's emergency responders would be in seismically safe buildings themselves.

"Protecting these facilities is so critical to making sure that when disaster strikes in our city, that the people who are housed in these facilities don't have to worry about saving themselves," said Mayor Breed.

The new Station 5 replaces the 1950's era building at Turk and Webster Streets. Firefighters working there said the upgrades include a generator that will allow them to operate on their own for 72 hours following a major quake and new doors that won't jam following a quake.

"The old facility we had these roll up doors that would probably take an individual 5-10 minutes to pull them up with a chain," said Fire Captain Mike Mahoney. "These new doors here, they're on a quick release mechanism, we can have them open in approximately 30 seconds."

Now the mayor is pitching a new $628.5 million earthquake safety and emergency response bond.
The mayor said the bond would allow the city to rebuild other fire stations in the city to the same standard.

"We need our public safety officials in facilities where they're able to prepare and use the equipment they have to respond and not necessarily, for example, have their building fall in on them and they can't even save anyone," said Breed.

Naomi Kelly San Francisco's City Administrator said San Francisco's 10 year capital plan has fiscal constraints. Meaning the city wouldn't be taking on additional debt to pay for the new stations if the bond is approved.

"In simple terms we've agreed to not increase the property tax rate from 2006," said Kelly. "So, what that means is as we issue new debt, we pay off old debt."

The mayor and bond supporters are working to get the new $628.5 million bond on the March 2020 ballot then voters will have their say.