COPPERAS COVE — The City Council on Tuesday directed the city staff to provide residents with information about a 2015 cost to build fire station No. 4 if they approve the Nov. 5 ballot issue.
“Can we pull the trigger when we want?” Councilman Mark Peterson asked along with other members of the governing body.
By setting a year, the council is basically agreeing the city will not issue the debt for the proposed $6 million bond until at least that date, said Ryan Haverlah, the city budget director. The debt can be issued after that date.
The fire station is proposed to be located in the future Narrows Technology and Business Park between Constitution Drive and Robert Griffin III Boulevard.
If issued in 2015, residents may see a tax increase of 3.3213 cents per $100 of assessed property value because of the station’s construction, stated estimates from the city’s financial adviser. By issuing the debt in that year, the city’s debt service could also peak in 2016.
City staff also recommended 2017 for issuing the debt, which could experience 3.5185 cents per $100 of assessed property value because interest rates for government bonds are expected to increase. However, it does not experience a debt service peak.
Prices of construction also could increase if the city waits until 2017, said City Manager Andrea Gardner. It would however give the city more time to hire more personnel for the fire department.
Council members agreed the 2015 date would allow the governing body a better response to the bond market and construction market.
The station, which will serve as a fire station and a police substation, will benefit not only the businesses in the Narrows and the Five Hills shopping center but also the city’s eastern residents.
According to city documents, the city responds to fire and emergency medical service calls from the central station and has an average response time of 5 minutes and 49 seconds. The response time has increased 27 percent in five years from 4 minutes and 33 seconds because of increased traffic and growth in the area. By adding the station, it should reduce travel from about three miles to under one mile for emergency crews response, the documents stated.
Cove Fire Chief Burney Baskett said the five minutes is already more than the national response guideline of 4 minutes.
“We are in excess of that right now,” he said.