04/23/09 — Fremont discusses fire station repair, replacement

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Fremont discusses fire station repair, replacement

By Anessa Myers
Published in News on April 23, 2009 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- The Fremont Fire Department is waiting to see if the Town Board of Aldermen will approve a request to borrow money to replace the asphalt in front of the fire station with concrete.

The Town Board met Tuesday night to discuss the $25,000 request that would also involve erecting poles in front of the station to stop trucks from hitting the building.

Town Manager Kerry McDuffie said that he had one concern with the request.

"The department is starting to get a large debt ratio," he said. But the asphalt does need work, he admitted.

Alderman Leroy Ruffin asked why the station wanted concrete instead of new asphalt.

"The trucks going in and out of the building -- they are especially heavy with water -- creates a depression in the asphalt," McDuffie said. "(Asphalt) won't hold up as good as concrete will."

Alderman Harold Cuddington asked McDuffie how the department would pay back the loan.

"They said they could pay for it out of their annual budget," McDuffie said. "The payments will be about $5,500 a year. They said they would squeeze it out of their budget."

"How long do they have to pay off the trucks?" Cuddington asked.

"Seven years on the one they just got, and the other one, they bought two years ago on a 20-year payment, so they have 18 years left," McDuffie said.

Firefighters were not unanimous in their request for concrete. Some favor replacing the asphalt with more asphalt.

McDuffie told aldermen that he could approach the U.S. Department of Agriculture for possible partial grant money to help with the project.

Aldermen then went on to discuss building a new fire station in a few years.

"There are some problems with that building," McDuffie said. "The roof leaks, and the roof height is lower than the trucks made today, so we have to be selective with the trucks we purchase."

Alderman W.T. Smith said the last truck the department bought had to be lowered so it would fit into the station.

"It sounds to me like they should save that money for the new building," Alderman Leon Mooring said.

McDuffie told the board that it would be more likely that the USDA would help the town with building a new fire station than in helping with the asphalt project.

In other business, aldermen also made a change to the town's utility adjustment policy. Currently, the town gives an adjustment when there is a variance in their sewer bill, but only after a public works employee checked for a leak.

The new policy says there will be no adjustment "unless a water leak occurs that causes the current usage to be at least 2,000 gallons more than the previous six month average." There will be no adjustments made for water or electricity.