04/15/09 — Pikeville moves closer to fire department annexation

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Pikeville moves closer to fire department annexation

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 15, 2009 1:46 PM

PIKEVILLE -- The Pikeville-Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department wants the site of the soon-to-be-built fire station to be annexed into city limits, but only if town officials want the annexation.

On Tuesday night, the Pikeville Board of Commissioners met with the fire department's board to discuss the issue.

Mayor Herbert Sieger asked the fire department board members what they wanted. There had previously been confusion between the two boards as to whether or not the department wanted to be annexed.

"I know you've asked for annexation, and we didn't jump in and annex you that night. And I think that upset some of you. Then we received a letter that said you wanted us to hold off on annexation," he said.

Russell Robertson, president of the fire department's board, said that the department wished to be annexed.

"We think it would benefit the town as much as it would benefit us," he said.

Annexing the site, which is on the corner of Pikeville Princeton Road and Hooks Grove Church Road, would pave the way for more development in that area, which would provide more tax money for the town in the future, department Fire Chief Wesley Wooten said.

"It's a move to get your infrastructure out there further," he said.

Robertson said that many of the firefighters live in the city limits of Pikeville, and that the fire department cares about the town and wants to work with town officials.

"I live in this town," he said. "I care what happens to this town. It needs to grow."

Sieger told the fire board that he agreed annexation would be good for future growth.

"We would already have the foothold started (if businesses wanted to develop at the new station site). That's better than starting from scratch," he said.

An additional reason for the new station site to be annexed, Robertson said, is convenience during election season.

He explained that if the site wasn't annexed, then citizens may have to go to two different spots to vote since they wouldn't be able to vote in all elections at the new station if it was outside of city limits.

Sieger asked the board of commissioners if anyone was against the annexation.

No one spoke.

"We know we are no benefit to you because we don't bring tax money," Wooten said. "But we are helping you to be ready for the next step (of development in that area)."

Commissioner Vance Greeson asked if the landowner from whom the department bought the site from was open for expansion in that area.

"Yes," Robertson said.

"Is the land you have now going to be enough for everything (in the new fire station plan)?" Greeson asked.

"Yes," Robertson replied. "We've worked it out."

Then both boards discussed utilities.

Fire department officials said that they are in the process of asking for access to the existing sewer line on the property from the Wayne County Board of Education.

But, the department would like to receive water and electricity from the town.

Town Administrator Kathie Fields told the board that she would need an accurate set of plans for the new station to adequately estimate how much electricity it would use.

Fire department officials told her that they haven't yet approved the final design of the plans, but could provide her with current design plans.

Then she told them that the fire department had two options when it comes to obtaining water -- from Wayne Water District or from the town of Pikeville.

She said that she was under the impression that if the department decided to use Wayne Water District, then the fire department would likely have to pay for the entire line to be built.

And that would cost an estimated $33,765.

But if the fire department decided to use the town of Pikeville's water, it would likely have to pay around $26,856.

"That's a difference of $6,909," she said.

The town's current ordinance states that the party needing a new water line has to pay for it in its entirety.

Fire department board secretary Kenneth Gardner asked if the board would provide a variance to that ordinance.

Mrs. Fields stated that they would have to request that variance in writing and that the board would first have to hold a public hearing before making any decisions.

Fire department officials were just wary about the cost of being the first developers in that area.

"We will be the first ones on that corner," Robertson said. "And we would have to pay it all."

Then, if another business comes in, that business will "reap the benefits" and not have paid the large expense that the department had to, he added.

The town ordinance is the same for electricity.

The department requested a three-phase line instead of a single-phase line since it would provide for more expansion.

"And if there are restaurants or other businesses that come in, you would have to use a three-phase anyway," Wooten said.

Robertson said that the department would like the large electricity capacity to be able to provide power for a generator in case of an emergency to run all of its equipment.

"We would have a large brick building to get a lot of people in if something happened," he added. "We do everything for a reason. We didn't just look at what this station would need in five years. We looked at what it would need in 20 years."

After discussions, Sieger told the fire department that the board can compromise on what it would have to pay -- "within reason."

"So you want to be annexed?" the mayor asked.

"If the town wants us, yes we do," Robertson said. "Like I said, it's Pikeville first on our department's name."

Preliminary discussions between the two boards resulted in the town looking into paying for the three-phase electricity line, which would likely cost an estimated $21,815, and the fire department looking into paying for the water line, which would likely cost around $26,000.

"If the board chooses to do that, we have no problem whatsoever," Robertson said of the financial split.

The next board of commissioners meeting will be held May 4 at 7 p.m. at the Community Building where members will likely hold more discussions on the fire department's request for annexation.