HEBRON – A 12-year quest to expand and renovate the Hebron Fire Station cleared a critical hurdle at a special council meeting Tuesday night.
Last week, council members heard the first reading of an ordinance authorizing the issuance of $1.35 million in bonds to fund the project. Fire Chief Randy Weekly asked council members to suspend the three reading rule to get the project underway and accept the below-estimate bid before the April 12 deadline.
Suspension of the three reading rule requires five “yes” votes. Five of the six council members were present, but Council President Annelle Porter wanted to hold the issue until all members could be present. Consequently, no action was taken last Wednesday night.
A special council meeting was set for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, to consider the bond authorization ordinance and to discuss the process to hire a village administrator to replace Mike McFarland who retired at the end of the year.
“I think everything has been said that needs to be said,” Weekly told council Tuesday night. “I ask council to suspend the rules tonight.”
Council member Bob Gilbert, who had been absent last week, said, “It’s time for the fire station to be updated.”
Mayor Clifford Mason said low bidder 2K General Company of Delaware has three options if the village fails to award the contract within 30 days (by April 12). The company could agree to extend the deadline, extend the deadline at an additional cost or let its bid expire.
Gilbert moved to suspend the three reading rule, with council member Jim Friend seconding his motion. The measure was unanimously approved with no discussion. A motion to adopt the ordinance, which includes an emergency clause, was approved 5-1, with Porter voting “no.”
“It is no way a reflection on the fire department or my support for it,” she explained. “It is solely a reflection of the indebtedness.”
The fire station renovation/ expansion project will add a 6,500 sq. ft. addition to the north side of the Basin Street station for a total of 12,730 sq. ft. That addition will include two new equipment bays for a total of five. The addition also includes a new living area with a new kitchen for emergency personnel. The current kitchen housed in a lean-to-like structure on the west side of the building will be razed.
The current living area on the south end of the station will be turned into a training room, exercise area and offices. The work is expected to take eight to nine months to complete.
Council members then went into a 20-minute executive or closed session to discuss the village administrator search status. When they returned, council members unanimously authorized Mason to renew, repost and republish the search for a new administrator. This will be the third time the position has been advertised. Applications will be accepted up to April 30.
Council’s next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11, at the municipal complex.