By Isabel Vander Stoep / email@example.com
This week, Lewis County Fire District 15 in Winlock received a new $745,000 fire truck as one project in a pool of $40 million from the Office of the State Treasurer for local governments, state agencies and colleges across Washington.
Or, at least, new to Winlock — the truck is actually from 2003, according to Adam Johnson, a spokesperson for the treasurer’s office.
“The new pumper tender will be a major upgrade for the fire district and will support our fire response teams for many years to come,” said Richard Underdahl, fire district chief, in a news release from the treasurer’s office.
Money for the new American flag-adorned vehicle, among other projects in Washington, comes from the treasurer’s office selling a series of certificates of participation, often called COPs in the finance world. The bond-esque funding mechanisms pool financing requests from state and local agencies into a publicly sold security, according to the office.
This allows partners to receive equipment and other real estate “umbrella of the state’s credit,” the news release stated. The program helps local governments secure financing at the lowest possible interest rates, “ultimately reducing costs and saving taxpayer dollars,” the release said.
This is especially impactful in rural districts such as Winlock, Johnson said, where the tax base is relatively small. Because Lewis County Fire District 15 works closely with other nearby agencies on large fires, the new vehicle is a good thing outside the Winlock area, too.
“As with any major purchase, we want to make sure we’re keeping costs as low as possible,” Underdahl said. “Which is why we partnered with the treasurer’s office to finance the vehicle at lower interest rates than what would be available otherwise.”
The fire district partnered with the treasurer’s office twice in the past, according to the news release, financing two ambulances in 2013 and 2022. The newest member of the fire fleet is set to be in service by the end of the year.
Other projects that will see chunks of the $40 million include both statewide and local programs. The latter of those included, according to the news release, two new school buses in Pacific County, a new fire protection equipment facility in Clallam County and $1.5 million of new road maintenance equipment for the City of Leavenworth.
Western Washington University, Seattle Community College and Renton Technical College also saw a total of $887,872 between them for new electronic equipment, solar panels and a cargo vehicle, according to the news release.
In fiscal year 2023, the release said, the treasurer’s COP program helped local municipalities and state agencies finance $56,515,000 in property and equipment at the lowest possible cost for participants.