Craig Fire Board assessing costs associated with CNCC tower location

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In other action ...

The Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board:

• Approved, 4-0, May meeting minutes.

• Approved, 4-0, fire department bills for $28,359.03.

• Heard a budget review from board secretary/treasurer Chris Nichols.

• Approved, 4-0, amendments to the fire department’s requirements for employment.

• Approved, 4-0, the per set low bid of $1,851.60 from Fire-Dex for 30 units of new bunker gear to be ordered in 2012, but delivered and paid for in 2013 with budgeted funds.

• Read a letter from Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta thanking Craig Fire/Rescue for its participation in the Mitt Romney campaign rally.

• Heard a monthly report from Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston.

— Board member Alan Webber was absent from Thursday’s meeting.


Quotable

“We didn’t spend a dime on this project until we received two verbal commitments from the (Colorado Northwestern Community College) Board. We’re not going to issue a bill or anything, but I think it is important info to have and to share with the other board.”

— Chris Nichols, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board secretary/treasurer

The Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board has asked consultants working on a new training tower project to assess how much money was invested into the project at its previously planned location, Colorado Northwestern Community College's campus in Craig.

Todd Ficken, training tower project manager with Niwot-based F&D International, LLC, is expected to present a cost analysis during the fire board’s July meeting.

Byron Willems, fire board president, said described the numbers as “ugly” during the fire board's meeting Thursday.

Expected to be included in the report are costs the fire district incurred for Phase I environmental impact studies, soil testing, site and foundation plans and land surveys, among others.

“We didn’t spend a dime on this project until we received two verbal commitments from the (CNCC) Board,” fire board secretary/treasurer Chris Nichols said. “We’re not going to issue a bill or anything, but I think it is important info to have and to share with the other board.”

On Friday, CNCC Board Chairman Jim Loughran said the college board considers the training tower issue to be over.

“I had a feeling something like this was coming,” Loughran said. “I’m not sure what they expect to gain by putting their (CNCC site) costs into the public arena.”

In May, fire board members attended a CNCC Board meeting expecting a land transfer agreement to be approved for the construction of the live fire simulator on college property.

But due to an outpouring of public criticism of the proposed project, the CNCC Board decided to pass on the land deal, and by extension, the fire board's project.

“It’s possible (the fire board) could have received two verbal commitments, but (negotiations) had been going on for a long time,” Loughran said. “I personally didn’t have any issues with the tower, but I also don’t remember a time when the two boards discussed this together since I started.

“We have three new members this year, so it’s possible the verbal commitments they’re talking about came from the previous board.”

Willems reported the live fire training tower is on schedule to be completed this fall at its alternate site on Industrial Avenue behind Kmart and is still estimated to cost $1.5 million.

Nichols said the final cost could come in under the original budgeted amount.

With the potential for leftover funds, Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston asked the board to look into adding a couple of bays at the new location.

“I don’t want to throw a wrinkle into the plans because I know the situation we’re in, but it would help me out a lot,” he said.

After the meeting, Willems said any savings from the fire tower project would be reallocated to more pressing needs as outlined in the department’s 10-year plan and not to additional structures at Industrial Avenue that could be interpreted by the public as a second fire station in Craig.

“The chief asks for a lot of things that he doesn’t get,” Willems said. “He is running short on room in this building, so it is a reasonable thing to look at.

“It’s likely to happen someday, but it won’t be anytime soon.”

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