City Councilmember Kriss Worthington is proposing a compromise to build a new Hills Fire Station at Shasta and Park Hills roads without stepping on too many toes.
In an informational report passed out at last week’s City Council meeting, Worthington outlines a settlement that he hopes will be palatable enough to get on the November ballot before the August 11 deadline passes.
He suggests returning to the taxpayers the $2 million already approved in Measure G bonds, either through a city-issued check or as credit on next year’s tax bill, and asking the voters to approve a new bond of $2 million to build the new station.
Worthington said that this is a much better solution than the city going through a validation suit to use the Measure G funds.
“This is the taxpayers’ money,” he said “We have a moral and legal obligation to give it back to them if we are not doing what we are supposed to do with it.”
He also hopes to please the neighbors of the proposed station by trimming it down a few thousand square feet.
Residents of the Park Hills neighborhood think the 7,000-10,000 square feet proposed is just too colossal. So, he suggests working with the residents to find a compromise.
“Perhaps 3,500 or 4,000 He said he hopes his compromise will be discussed at Tuesday’s council meeting along with Councilmember Betty Olds’ item on the agenda calling for the Fire Department to “answer some crucial questions.”
Olds said she supports the Hills fire station, but does not subscribe to Worthington’s method.
“Of course I renounce it,” she said of his plan. “Why would Berkeleyans in his district care about what happens in the hills.”
Worthington said that the validation lawsuit the city is involved in could delay the Hills Fire Station’s construction for up to a year or more. And if the city loses the validation action, he said the city may have to have a special election or wait two years until the next regular election before the matter could be addressed again.
If five Councilmembers request to have a special meeting regarding his ideas, they will be legally required to do so. But, he said, “compromises are hard to work out around here.”