ESD looks at equipping Station 2

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

A couple of months worth of work remains to finish the second fire station for ESD #4, and that means it is time to begin looking to get it equipped and move-in ready.

At its monthly meeting Monday, the ESD Board of Commissioners approved moving forward on the process of getting things ordered and bids submitted where necessary to make the station functional and livable.

“We’re talking a blank building,” said ESD Chief Anthony Lincoln. “We’re talking about everything from trash cans to furniture to lockers, beds and weight equipment, everything that goes into that station. It is a wide variety when you think of what goes into your home.”

Most appliances, ice machines and anything not built in will be on the list, which Lincoln has estimated at about $85,000.

To save some funds, the living quarters are being outfitted for a staff of five in the beginning, rather than the eventual full capacity of 10.

“The stuff we are doing we can add later on like the lockers and beds,” Lincoln said. “Those are custom made anyway and we can go back to somebody and get more built when the demand is there.”

Originally, there were plans to borrow the funds, but purchasing is easier when paying for the equipment up front and Lincoln felt like the lifespan of some of the items – some as short as five years – meant that financing was not the best option.

“It wasn’t as much about borrowing the money as much as it was about pricing the stuff, because for us, we price it, we get bids on it then we have to turn all that pricing into our finance company and they look at it,” Lincoln said. “Then the pricing you just had is old. Plus we have items on there that we weren’t going to go but five years with some of it anyway and that’s not the best way to go.”

The funds will either come from higher than projected sales tax revenues or reserve funds.

“The last few years we’ve been fortunate enough to collect more than our projections,” Lincoln said. “Last year we didn’t pull a lot out of reserves so we have that option as well.”

The search continues
The search for the right property to eventually build Station 3 on continues, with the ESD inquiring on some property on the west side of town.

While Lincoln said it was too early in the process to name the particular property, he said it was in the county, not inside the city limits.

“It’s in one of our target areas that’s growing now and was always one of the areas where we knew we needed to look,” he said. “But I was working on our strategic plan the other day and now we’re talking about areas west we weren’t talking about even two years ago.”

As they search, the utility question is one the ESD wrestles with in considering all expenses of the project from beginning to end.

“What’s the lesser of two evils, going to a property that already has utilities on it and paying the price for that or going somewhere else and paying for it all yourself?” Lincoln said. “There’s not a lot of properties out there that we can build on that don’t have restrictions. We’re probably a couple of years from doing something, who knows with how things are growing, but it gives us a better idea, because the board looks at it like a package. When you pay that much for a property how does it fit in with getting through the whole project. The infrastructure for that stuff is crazy high.”

Election of officers
Williamson County Commissioners Court reappointed ESD Board members Dan Clark, James Baker and James Crabtree to new two-year terms.

The ESD Board voted on officers Monday, keeping the board structure the same. Clark was reelected as president and Baker as vice president, while Keith Bright will remain treasurer, Crabtree secretary and Jeffrey Roemer as assistant treasurer.

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