What’s going on with the south-county bond elections?

The Wood River Fire Protection District’s $17 million bond failed on Tuesday by a relatively narrow margin. Had it passed, the agency would have returned its Station 1 (pictured) and Station 2 to Blaine County and the city of Hailey, built a new replacement fire station on River Street and continued to operate out of Station 3 in Bellevue.

Two bond measures issued to finance a new fire station and town square less than a mile apart on Hailey’s River Street failed at the ballot box on Tuesday, according to preliminary tallies reported by the Blaine County Elections Department Wednesday morning.

The proposals included a $950,000 bond from the city of Hailey to repay the city for its August purchase of 116 S. River St., a property long eyed as an ideal town square location, as well as a $17 million bond measure from the Wood River Fire Protection District that would have financed the construction of a replacement fire station on River Street’s north end.

Both bonds required two-thirds voter approval. Hailey’s reimbursement bond failed by about 99 votes, or six percentage points, with 876 voters (60%) in favor and 586 (40%) against. Meanwhile, the fire bond fell only about 18 votes, or three percentage points short, with 279 (63%) in favor and 166 (37%) opposed.

In a statement on Wednesday morning, Wood River Fire & Rescue Chief Ron Bateman thanked the 279 voters who backed the bond.

“In a tired and busy world, it’s easy to not vote, so we appreciate your engagement and look forward to continuing our service to you in the future,” he wrote. “I want to say thank you to our fire board, who listened to our members, identified a need and took the time to put a question on the ballot. Your support is vital and doesn’t go unrecognized."

For full coverage, see tomorrow's issue of the Idaho Mountain Express.

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