Submitted by the Office of the State Treasurer.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue recently partnered with the Office of the State Treasurer (OST) for the first time to finance new emergency response vehicles.
Using low-interest financing obtained through OST’s Local Option Capital Asset Lending Program (LOCAL Program), which is a financing program offered to local taxing districts, Orcas Island Fire & Rescue will take delivery of two new Ford Explorer command cars fully equipped for responding to medical emergencies quickly.
Expecting to take deliver this summer, these vehicles will provide dependability and improve EMS service delivery across Orcas Island, which can take upwards of an hour to travel from one side to the other.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue Fire Commissioner Leith Templin, who serves on The Board of Fire Commissioners’ finance committee which oversees the district’s budget, worked with OST to obtain financing to replace the ageing command cars currently in operation.
“We were interested in finding avenues for saving money for the district when we found out about the Office of the State Treasurer’s LOCAL Program, and we’re very happy we did. It was a big help to our district in replacing our ageing vehicles and it was easy to get through the process. It was a good relationship,” said Templin.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue was among five other municipal participants that made use of the LOCAL Program in June looking to save on financing costs for their districts and stretch local tax dollars further.
Other district participants included one other fire district located in Skamania County, one hospital district in Klickitat County, and two school districts in Ferry and Republic Counties — each partnering with OST to finance critical projects and equipment purchases at interest rates they could likely not achieve on their own.
“We’re making good use of the state’s strong credit ratings to reduce long term interest costs for the state of Washington and our local government partners,” said State Treasurer Mike Pellicciotti. “This is just one example of how leveraging Washington’s strong financial position provides value by empowering local partners and directing money towards community projects.”
The LOCAL Program pools financing requests from state agencies and local governments into a publicly sold security on a triannual basis. It is a cost-effective way to finance equipment and real estate projects with the benefit of low fees and expenses, technical assistance, and access to the tax-exempt bond market.
Fiscal Year 2023, OST will have issued more than $56 million to finance the purchase of property and equipment, and to refinance existing debt at the lowest available rates for state and local partners across Washington.
Orcas Island Fire & Rescue Fire District serves 57 square miles on Orcas Island with critical fire, medical and rescue services. The district is headquartered out of Station 21 in Eastsound with a fulltime crew of 10, and 40 volunteer firefighters.
To learn about joining Orcas Island Fire & Rescue Fire District as a volunteer visit the district’s join our team page.
Mike Pellicciotti was sworn in as Washington’s 24th State Treasurer in 2021 and manages Washington’s cash, investments, and debt activities. Visit www.tre.wa.gov for more information.