It appears that a new fire station that voters approved back in 2008 is not going to be built. Instead, the plans are to spend those $2.1 million in bond monies on rehabilitating other fire stations around town.
The new fire station was supposed to be built at either the corner of Ayers and Saratoga or at Ayers and Holly, but now those plans have changed, thanks to the economy and the need for major renovation at many fire stations.
Assistant City Manager Troy Riggs said that every fire station in town is in need of renovation. Some have major issues, like floors that have sunk under the weight of the huge trucks that are parked there. Others have severe structural problems that have to be repaired soon.
So, the City is working to get the money to pay for those repairs by diverting the firehouse bond dollars. Riggs said the City doesn't have the money to pay for the 10-15 new firefighters needed to staff a new fire station.
"Right now, we're 34 short," Riggs said. "There's no way we can put enough people there in that house. So we have to make a tough decision. What are we going to do? Are we going to re-purpose that money for other firefighting initiatives? I think it wouldn't be prudent to move forward at this time without the necessary staffing."
So it doesn't sound like the proposed fire station is going to be built anytime soon, if at all.
Riggs said he wants to step back and make sure they use the $2.1 million in bond monies wisely. Right now, that means paying to maintain what they have before they go out and build something they can't pay to staff.
This bond dilemma comes as City Council holds a workshop Tuesday morning as it decides what will be on the bond 2012 list. There are sure to be questions about this 2008 voter approved fire station, now that its future is very much in doubt.
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