Residents voice concern over proposed fire station
April 29, 2011
In other news …
At its regular meeting Thursday, the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board:
• Approved, 4-0, adopting the agenda.
• Approved, 4-0, March meeting minutes.
• Approved, 3-0, bills totaling $254,604.45. Board chairman Byron Willems abstained from voting.
• Approved, 4-0, a geotechnical investigation and first-phase environmental site assessment from Steamboat Springs-based Northwest Colorado Consultants at a cost of $6,650 for property related to a possible second station.
• Approved, 4-0, petitions into the fire district for Robert and Karen Snavely and Tyler and Megan McWilliams.
— Board member Tony Maneotis was absent.
At Thursday's Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board meeting, board chairman Byron Willems posed a question to Craig resident Bruce Timberg about the fire board's exploration of a second fire station.
"I would ask you, if you were sitting in this chair, what would you do?" Willems asked.
"I wouldn't build a second station with that money," Timberg responded. "I have all respect for (firefighters), but at the same time, I get upset when I see a $6,000 toilet seat that the Pentagon's buying and I feel this fire station is a $6,000 toilet seat."
Timberg was one of several residents who attended the fire board's regular meeting Thursday. About an hour-and-a-half of the meeting was used for audience comment surrounding a proposed second fire station south of The Memorial Hospital on property belonging to Colorado Northwestern Community College.
During the meeting, the fire board approved a $6,650 expense for a geotechnical investigation and first-phase environmental site assessment from Steamboat Springs-based Northwest Colorado Consultants for the property.
The proposed second station, when completed, would include four bays for vehicles, living quarters for firemen and an education room with stadium-style seating.
Additionally, it would feature several training elements including a live fire training building and a five-story tower for physical training.
Responding to questions, fire officials stressed their capital fund was because of fiscal planning and building a second station was planning ahead for the future.
"I've heard a lot of talk that we don't need Station 2," Willems said. "Our job as a board is to do the best thing for the district and that's to plan for the future, and we have the opportunity to build a Station 2 that someday we will need.
"I don't know how soon that is. None of us really know how soon it is that we'll need Station 2, but this is a good environment to get a lot of bang for your buck in building and we do have funds."
Resident Steve Martin expressed concern that by building the station, the department would throw off funding for a 10-year plan the department is currently in the middle of. Concerns included the maintenance or replacement of vehicles and whether the department could afford it.
"If you start spending all your money on a training center … you will be coming to the public and asking for another tax increase," Martin said.
Board member Chris Nichols said money coming into the department would cover financial costs if the current budget is spent.
"Yeah, we're spending the million-and-a-half (dollars), but we also have $450,000 coming in next year in that capital fund," he said, noting the capital fund is in addition to a $250,000 contingency fund.
Resident Jayne Morley told the board she attended the meeting looking for more information on the proposed second station.
"I can't say I'm convinced we need a second station, in all honesty, but I appreciate the fact that you're studying it and considering the future," she said. "The training part and the equipment for the firefighters, I support that wholeheartedly. I don't know if the best answer is a second station with barracks, but I think we get off point assuming we're going to break ground tomorrow."
The fire board addressed firefighters during the meeting and told them they had the board's support.
"We know you're doing your best job and we'll do our best job," Willems said. "We're going to do our best job to make this thing happen."
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