Monday, January 27, 2014
Georgetown Fire Chief Joey Tanner was 25 years younger when talk about the need for a new facility for the Maryville fire station first started.
Now, another step towards making that a reality is expected to be taken this year.
At its Capital Improvement planning retreat, held Friday and Saturday, Georgetown City Council agreed to hire an architectural and engineering firm to determine how much it will cost to build a new station at the former Eagle Electric property on Highway 17 the city purchased in 2009.
The site is also expected to become the new home for the city’s electric department and other offices.
Tanner, as he has done many times before, told council a new fire station is needed for a variety of reasons.
One, there is no space to house the station’s fire trucks inside the one bay at the location.
“Fire trucks are designed to work outside but not live outsie,” he said. “They are not made to sit out in 12 degree and 110 degree weather.”
He said keeping the trucks outside will likely hurt the city’s ISO (insurance) rating.
“The ISO requires the trucks to be housed inside,” he said.
Tanner also said the overcrowded station on South Island Road also has mold and leak issues. Some bowing is occurring in some of the walls and some walls are cracked.
“It’s time to do something. The Maryville community and the firefighters deserve it,” Tanner said.
City Administrator Chris Carter said the Request for Proposals (RFP) are advertised, he would like to hire one firm that can design and build the new fire station rather than hire an architect and a separate construction company.
Councilman Brendon Barber said he was OK with that idea as long as the city follows its procurement procedures.
As a very rough guess, Tanner said he expects a new station will cost $1.5 million to build. Carter said he feels the cost may be higher.
The city has the ability to borrow up to $3.5 million through General Obligation Bonds without having to hold a referendum for residents to decide if the money should be spent on a new fire station.
“We don’t want to hold a referendum if we don’t have to,” said Mayor Jack Scoville.
Right now, the construction is in Tanner’s plans for 2014-15 but that could change depending of many factors, including funding.
Along with a new fire station and the city’s utility headquarters, the property is also expected to house a police substation. Tanner said he would also like a fire training center on the site.
City Electric Director Alan Lovelesss said he expects construction for his new department headquarters too begin by 2015.