New stations, vehicles in store for county fire district
The Boone County Fire Protection District released its spending proposal Thursday for the $14 million raised by the bond issue. Voters approved the bond last Tuesday, which raises the property tax for those living outside city limits by 25 cents for every 100 dollars in assessed value.
Each of the fifteen stations will receive some form of an upgrade, whether it's a new vehicle or renovated rooms. Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp said each community should see the benefits of the bond.
The district plans to build a sixteenth station at Route B and Route HH, one mile north of Columbia. Captain Martina Pounds said this will relieve the amount of calls Station 5 on Prathersville Road receives. Pounds says Station 5 is one of the busiest stations.
Pounds said the new station may also lower insurance rates in the area. The proximity of a fire station would lower risk assessment for nearby properties.
The most expensive project is Station 13 on Route E, six miles northwest of Columbia. For $1.5 million, crews will demolish the garage and old New Providence school house volunteers currently use, and construct one building for operations. Pounds cited the former school's age and mold as reasons it needed to be demolished. The school was built in 1881, and held its last class in 1974.
"I'm glad the voters in the district and the citizens are putting that much trust in us to serve them well and hopefully be a good steward with their tax dollars," Pounds said of the upgrades.
The district proposal lists three new tankers, seven new fire engines and three new trucks for various stations. Tankers and engines both carry their own supply of water, while trucks are used to navigate brush fires and medical emergencies.
Pounds said some of the vehicles are more than thirty years old, and risk frequent breakdowns.
"Especially our older trucks, it happens frequently now," Pounds said. "It's just not good, because we're on our way to a call and we just can't get there."
Pounds said replacing parts on the fire engines and tankers is also expensive the older the models become.
"We can't just go to the manufacturer anymore, we have to go out on the Internet, look for parts, and some of them are just really expensive," Pounds said.
You can read the full proposal here.
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