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New safety station raises questions

Posted: March 25, 2014 - 2:03pm

North Augusta City Council unanimously approved a resolution March 17 to enter into a contract with John W. Spratlin and Son to construct the city’s third public safety station, but it came with some opposition.

During its regular council meeting, City Administrator Todd Glover was authorized to enter into the agreement with the construction company, which had the lowest bid at $2,069,000.

A majority of the funds for the project – $1,245,637 – will come from Sales Tax II and the remaining $823,363 will come from Sales Tax III.

Mayor Lark Jones noted that the seven bids were close. The highest bid was $2,284,000.

North Augusta Public Safety Station III will be built on Belvedere-Clearwater Road.

The new station raised some concerns from two commissioners from the Belvedere Fire District who were present for the council’s meeting.

Stephanie Wright, chairwoman/commissioner for the Belvedere Fire District, said it seems unnecessary to spend money building a new station to serve an area that Belvedere’s department is already close to.

“It makes no sense for you to have to come over here when we’re right here already. ... It’s faster for us to get there,” she said after the meeting.

Wright said she fears that the city of North Augusta will “try to annex more in,” thus impacting the nearby volunteer fire departments, including Belvedere.

Jimmy Darley, vice chairman/commissioner of the Belvedere Fire District, agreed with Wright, adding that with the new building will come more expenses, and that is something that needs to be considered.

“It starts out a little over $2 million for the building. Then they got maintenance on the building, they got utilities, they got employees, benefits package – the price keeps going up,” he said after the meeting.

They both said they hope the city and Belvedere Fire District can come to a common ground and plan to continue talks between the district and the city.

“It’s all about providing fire protection for people in the area,” said Darley.

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