Forest Home#039;s new fire station will require more grant funding

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 8, 2006

An original estimated $130,000 cost for a new fire station in Forest Home has skyrocketed to $200,000 a year later, according to a planning consultant working with volunteer firefighters in the Butler County community.

Such, said Lenwood Herron with Wenworth Corporation, is the expense of living in a post-Hurricane Katrina United States.

Herron addressed the Butler County Commission during Thursday night's workshop meeting.

&#8220Because of Katrina building supplies and materials have all gone up,” said the consultant.

Still, said Herron, Forest Home has a good case for building a new firehouse. Herron believes the condition of the current station and its lack of modern restrooms and handicap access should warrant approval of a grant application to construct a new facility.

&#8220I believe we can put together a great application package for you,” he said. &#8220But it's very important that the local people get in contact with their senators and representatives to push their support for this in Montgomery.”

The new building will be 3,000 square-foot and also be used as a voting house for Forest Home residents. The VFD's fire trucks could also be parked inside, versus being exposed outside year-round to the elements.

Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams reiterated that the county would provide in-kind work in the form of demolition to the current firehouse, in addition to clearing the land for the new site.

In other business:

n The commission will vote on a resolution Monday that, upon approval by the Alabama Legislature, would put the county sheriff, tax assessor and tax collector under the state retirement fund. Currently, all of the sheriff's retirement is paid out of the county's general fund, said McWilliams. The tax assessor and tax collector receive partial retirement from the county, said McWilliams.

n Engineer John Mark Davis reported the road department has looked at purchasing a used pothole patcher, at a cost of $50,000, instead of buying a new one for $143,000. He said the used truck has 46,000 miles on it and is in good condition.

Davis said the Board of Education has approached the road department about transporting and leveling soil at Georgiana High School's Harmon Field. In March, contractors begin the removal of the home side bleachers at the football stadium, removing a majority of the soil beneath the concrete stands.

Davis said the work could be done on the weekends once a schedule is worked out with the general contractor, Zedot Construction. He said the school system has agreed to reimburse the county for labor and fuel costs on the project, which he estimated to be approximately $3,500.

The commission's Monday meeting will start at 8:30 a.m.