COPPERAS COVE — A 2011 fire station study supports the construction of a new fire station at the intersection of Grimes and Farm-to-Market 1113 to replace the city’s Fire Station No. 2, which is currently up for a bond election, but it also calls for a fourth fire station and more engine companies.
On Nov. 6, residents will vote on a $4.7 million bond that will provide funding for the one-mile relocation of Fire Station No. 2, which currently sits outside City Park.
“If we just do Station 2 and not follow through with Station 4, we may not move from class 2 to the class 1,” said City Manager Andrea Gardner, about how the construction of a new fire station could effect the city’s Insurance Service Office rating.
A lower rating could mean homeowners and businesses will save money on their insurance premiums.
But moving Fire Station No. 2 won’t decrease the rating by itself, said Gardner. “It is going to take a lot more to get from a 2 to a 1.”
The city will need to add extra personnel, the fourth station, and be sure to maintain the city’s access to water to help battle future blazes, she said.
“You have to take it in small chunks to finance the projects,” said Gardner. In this case, the council decided to let residents choose whether they wanted pay for the construction of a proposed station.
The station, however, was supported by a study performed by Garland-based Mike Pietsch, P.E. Consulting Services Inc. The study called for an “immediate consideration” to relocate Station No. 2 and build a Station No. 4 in the area of Constitution Drive.
“Based on information obtained during a January 2011 visit to Copperas Cove, the fire department, based on present needs, will be required to maintain four engine companies and one ladder truck company in service available to respond to first alarm structural alarms of fire deployed from 4 fire stations,” states the report. “At present, the city has three engine companies and one ladder truck company in-service deployed from three fire stations.”
In the proposed bond, residents also will have the option to purchase an additional platform ladder truck and a brush truck to be stationed at the new station. The two vehicles are not in operation at the city.
Preliminary design plans for the new Fire Station No. 2 shows a 11,204-square-foot facility with 3,173 square feet for two bays. The facility has 773 square feet dedicated for living space and 682 square feet for sleeping quarters. It also has additional space for storage, equipment, workout facilities and other departmental rooms.
The current Fire Station No. 2 is roughly a 3,400-square-foot facility built in 1977, which originally contained one short bay, but the city added an additional bay to the back at a later date.
If the bond is approved, its initial cost to residents is unknown, said Gardner. She projects the bond could raise property taxes 2 cents, but the increased rate could be avoided.
There is about $180,000 worth of city debt being paid off in 2013 with more than $500,0000 in city loans being paid at the end of 2014, said Gardner.
It is possible for the council to structure the debt so the residents won’t see the 2-cent tax increase and pay more as the loan gets older.
“The council thinks that this is very important, and they wanted the voters’ input,” said Gardner. “They want to know if this is what the city needs, and if they are willing to pay for it.”