Fire station bid comes in under estimate
The 6,500 sq. ft. addition to north side of the fire station (right side in the architect’s rendering) would add two equipment bays and a new living area for emergency personnel. The station will have a total of 12,730 sq. ft. of space.
Architect Greg Cotterman of JBA Architects of Newark was expecting a cost of $117-124 per sq. ft., Fire Chief Randy Weekly told village council members at their March 14 meeting. “We tried to shoot for $100 per square foot,” Weekly added.
The low bid submitted by 2K General Company of Delaware, works out to $104.65 per square foot after including all the extra costalternatesanda5percent contingency. The extra cost alternates as bid by 2K are:
• Add a sprinkler fire suppression system for $77,000;
• Replace the concrete pad in front of the three current equipment bays for $23,500;
• Replace asphalt paving in front of the current day room/ office area for $28,500;
• Add a backup generator for the addition for $35,800.
The bid also included an alternate to replace the designed metal roof with shingles. 2K offered a $38,800 savings to use shingles instead of metal. That “savings” will be rejected due to the much longer life expected from a metal roof versus shingles.
Ten general trades contractors bid on the entire project. Base bids ranged from 2K at $752,350 to Williamson Builders Inc. at $972,074. Robinson Construction of Health was the second lowest bidder with a base bid of $874,000.
“The interest (in the bid) was amazing,” Mayor Clifford Mason said. 2K General built West Licking Fire District’s main station on Broad Street in Pataskala, he added.
With the bids good for 30 days, council members convened a special Finance Committee meeting immediately after the full council meeting. Joseph Robertson of Ross, Sinclaire & Associates, LLC presented 20 year and 25 year general obligation bond financing options. His projections were based on a total cost of $1.5 million which included about $200,000 for new furnishings including new radio, telephone, computer and kitchen equipment; and office/living area furniture. At Monday night’s Combined Committee meeting, Weekly finetuned the furnishings estimate to about $100,000.
Council members asked Robertson to provide revised projections on a total cost of $1.3 million. The furnishings will be paid out of the some $300,000 received to date from EMS bill- ing. That revenue has been put to the side for future capital expenditures such as new equipment. Committee members also told Robertson to calculate the debt service schedule based on 20 years rather than 25 years. The shorter term yields a lower anticipated interest rate – 3.1056 percent versus 3.4496 percent, plus saves $217,000 in interest payments over the life of the bonds.
For 20 year bonds, Robertson calculated an approximate $ 100,000 per year payment. Cutting the amount financed from $1.5 million to $1.3 million cuts the annual payment to about $88,000.
Several council members, particularly Council President Annelle Porter, are concerned about the village’s overall debt. Last year, Hebron refinanced the general obligation bonds issued to pay for the new municipal complex. That cut the interest rate from 5.85 percent to around 2.84 percent, saving about $100,000 in interest expense over the remaining life of the bonds. Annual debt service for the municipal complex bonds averages $112,164 per year. Those bonds will be completely paid off in 2020.
Monday night, Porter said, “Several things have been nagging at me.” Initially, it was to be a 3,000 sq. ft. addition, she said, and now it’s 6,500 sq. ft. Porter asked what will go in the two new bays and who will pay for that equipment. Weekly said the medic units will go into the new bays, putting them closest to the new living area. Most of the runs are for EMS. He added that at some point the department will likely need a ladder truck.
“Forty percent of the people (Hebron residents) are being asked to pay 100 percent of this addition/renovation,” Porter added. Her reference was to the 60/40 split in the fire services contract with Union Township. The township currently pays 60 percent of the department’s op- erating expenses.
Mason agreed that the village is doing the station project on its own, but noted that operating expenses will be going up with Union Township picking up its share.
“What do we want versus need,” Porter asked. “Do we need all this or do we simply want it?”
She added that there hadn’t been a public forum to discuss this “venture.”
Council member Jim Friend, who represented council on the special fire station committee, responded to Porter.
“This is being built to be a 50+ year building,” he explained. “It is a sound structure. It is not a pole barn.”
“I look at this building as a need,” Mason told Porter. He also served on the special fire station committee. Mason said the village held an open house during Fire Prevention Week last fall that included the plans for the addition/renovation. Just two residents beyond village officials and their families came to the open house, he said.
“We did scale back things,” Mason added.
Hebron resident and former village administrator Mike Mc- Farland said, “You have a location that suffered water damage last week.” Water came in through a rear door and backed up in floor drains during last Thursday morning’s rain storm, destroying the carpet in the current living area.
Weekly told him that the grade in the back will be changed to direct water away from the building and toward a new retention basin on the north side of the property.
“I would hate to see water in a new facility,” McFarland added.
He also asked whether council members had considered asking voters to approve a bond levy specifically for the project. Weekly and Mason both said “no,” with Weekly adding taxpayers were already paying quite a bit for fire/ EMS protection.
Mason suggested that another Finance Committee or Combined Committees meeting might need to be scheduled to work up a resolution for council members to consider.
Council’s next regular meetng is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 28, at the municipal complex.