SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - In 2017, Santa Barbara voters passed a 1% sales tax and some much-needed upgrades have been taking place at city fire stations thanks to Measure C.
Officials plan to continue the revamp into the new year and gave our cameras a look at the work that’s been done and what could use some more TLC.
For Santa Barbara City Firefighters who risk their lives to protect the community, the eight fire stations around town are their home away from home.
“Many of them are old they’ve been around for at least 50 years or more,” said Lee Waldron, Operations Division Chief, Santa Barbara City Fire Department.
Designated for infrastructure support, Measure C funds made vital makeovers possible at almost all the city's fire stations this year.
“Everything from roofs, to solar, to floors, to painting inside and out. A lot of projects going on there,” said Waldron.
Officials now hope to rebuild Fire Station Seven, up on the Riviera and replace the windows at Sola Street’s Station Three.
“The building was built in the 1920’s so the windows are all worn out, termite-infested,” said Waldron.
Station Three just saw some roof repairs and got a new paint job inside and out.
Operations Division Chief Lee Waldron says just like your own home if you don’t maintain it you end up spending more in the long run. “The city has a lot of things that they have to support with limited tax dollars so when the voters approved that it was huge for all areas of the city,” he adds.
Another refurbishment made possible by Measure C, a new electronic alerting system at Station One, which filtered out to the other stations and dispatch.
“It’s very clear, the speakers are new and upgraded. The speaking is an electronica voice, it’s very consistent. Firefighters hear the same thing all the time, so it’s much easier to understand and then there’s also things like reader boards the firefighters see their turn out time and addresses to where they’re going they have a visual,” said Waldron.
It’s all a piece of a close to $22 million dollars a year pie, keeping firefighters safe, which in turn keeps us safe.
“It would be a real challenge and of course the city overall has to prioritize the things that they’re able to spend the limited tax dollars on and if we didn’t have those Measure C dollars it would make it that much more challenging,” said Waldron.
Measure C funds have also been utilized to repair city streets, traffic control, and our water and sewer systems. Waldron says when the new Police Station is built Measure C will help with that too.
There’s no sunset on these tax dollars.