by Bob Pepalis / Appen Newspapers
June 14, 2010
CUMMING – Joe Lockwood will be doing some business with Forsyth County, but in his role as a builder, not as Milton's mayor. JK Lockwood Construction's bid won it the contract to build Forsyth's Fire Station 7, with a bid cost of $1.33 million.
The good news for the county's budget is that the remaining costs to build the fire station on Dahlonega Highway next to Silver City Elementary School can be paid entirely out of impact fees. During the Board of Commissioners' June 8 work session, Fire Chief Danny Bowman said SPLOST V included $570,000 toward the new station. By law impact fees can only go toward growth. But since the county has already spent what was calculated to be the required 17 percent of the costs to match the square footage in the existing building used as a fire station, all construction costs and even some money for furniture, fixtures and equipment can come from impact fees. That cuts SPLOST V funded expenditures by $220,000.
"This entire amount could be paid for out of impact fees as you have already met your requirement for 17.02 percent," Bowman said.
Staffing exists for the new fire station, though at dangerously low levels, he said. Bowman was scheduled to speak to County Manager Doug Derrer about filling vacant firefighters' position, though he hastened to assure commissioners he has made no assumptions that any of those positions will be filled.
The Fire Department needs to buy a new pumper truck for the fire station to replace the 2000 model. The current truck has been crashed, overturning soon after its purchase.
"It caught fire last year sitting in the fire station," Bowman said.
If tax collections continue at the current pace, the fire millage rate should bring in enough to fund the new pumper, he said.