Fountain Green may seek CIB funds for new fire station
FOUNTAIN GREEN—Fountain Green City will continue researching the idea of a new fire station, but the decision on whether or not to actually build it is likely months away.
At a meeting on Thursday, June 15, prior to a city council meeting that had been rescheduled from this week, the Fountain Green City Council discussed the plans and the as-yet unknowns surrounding it.
Councilman Jerime Ivory, in charge of a funding application to the Community Impact Board (CIB) updated the council on the applications’ progress, but wanted direction from the council before proceeding further.
The direction given by councilman and former mayor Scott Collard was clear.
“I will not vote for any loans or debt to be taken on by this city,” Collard said flatly.
Collard noted that the city had only recently retired a great deal of its debt, and he would not support taking on any more debt so soon.
Ivory argued, however, that a new firehouse would save money in the long run.
“The current [fire]house is wasting money” he said, “through wastefully high utility bills, especially during the winter.”
He pointed to other benefits of a new station, as well, saying that the current 30-year-old building could no longer house the city’s updated equipment, and was affecting the city’s ability to attract more volunteer firefighters. A new building could also house the city’s police department and ambulance crews, he said.
As far as cost, Ivory said he anticipated any loan taken out by the city would not be large—about $250,000, assuming a half-grant/half-loan funding offer from the CIB.
City Recorder Michelle Walker said the city already had on hand $100,000 that could go toward the project, which could increase the odds that the CIB would grant the application.
Some council members felt it was too early to decide for sure to go to the CIB.
Councilwoman Holly Oldroyd said the application was “a shot in the dark” at this point, because no one knew exactly how much money would be available.
And Councilman Jeff Walker said the council “need[ed] to do more homework” before making a final determination regarding CIB application.
After discussion, Collard softened his stance somewhat, saying that he could agree to a loan if it was part of a large-grant/small-loan package. He would not agree to the 50/50 arrangement commonly offered by the CIB, however, he said.
Collard was therefore willing to at least continue with the application process and ask the CIB for a 100-percent grant, then seeing what the CIB would counteroffer.
Councilman Ivory will continue working with engineers to come up with the design, drawings and cost estimate for a new fire station. Hopes are, said City Recorder Walker, that the application will be completed in time for the CIB’s Oct. 1 deadline.
“This is all very preliminary,” she said, adding that the public will have opportunities for comment, including a public hearing, before any proposal is submitted to the CIB.