Everything in place for Fire Station #2

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By MIKE EDDLEMAN

The plans are ready and construction crews at the ready, and pending signatures on contracts, the land for the new fire station has been officially donated to the emergency services district (ESD).

The second fire station for Williamson County ESD No 4 will sit on 3.052 acres donated by Santa Rita, on the west side of Ronald Reagan Boulevard north of Hwy. 29. The land is valued at $130,680 per acre, but will cost the ESD only $100 due to the title company.

Dirt work had initially begun, but was halted over some final contract issues since ironed out, and Fire Chief Anthony Lincoln said work should resume within a week or two and is expected now to be completed by late February 2019.

During the initial planning, the goal was to keep the cost of the new station under a $4.5 million budget, but rising construction prices over the last two years made that difficult. As recent as March, estimates had the project coming in at over $5 million, but through meetings with the architects and contractor, the ESD was able to make some cuts through value engineering to get the cost down to about $4.7 million, an amount settled on at the March ESD meeting.

The additional costs will be covered through the general fund because sales tax revenues continue to surpass budget projections.Budgeted sales tax revenues for this year were $35,000 per month, but actual allocations averaged $39,000 monthly in 2017 and through the first three months of 2018, they have averaged $50,000.

The new station will be about 10,500 square feet and have an engine company with 3-4 firefighters and room for EMS should the need arise in the future.

It is anticipated to cover the eastern portion of the ESD, roughly east of 183, including the area east of the North Fork of the San Gabriel on the north end of the district.

The trailer to be used for as the temporary station until construction is complete has been delivered to the site at 9500 Hwy. 29, and Lincoln said the canopy and storage space for the truck and bunker gear is expected to be delivered and set up within a week. The temporary station will house a pair of firefighters with a small truck.

The ESD set aside $18,000 in the current budget to rent a space, but due to a lack of rental property in the right price range, they decided to purchase the trailer. The 12-foot by 40-foot trailer purchased is $20,000 and has two bedrooms. Lincoln said it could be resold to recover some of the costs, but because it may be needed in the future, he said they may just hold on to it.

The temporary location puts the firefighters 4.7 miles closer to the coverage area according to Lincoln.

Mike@LHIndependent.com

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