The Boone County Fireplace Safety District’s Station No. 8 has stood at 5801 S. Route Okay for almost 40 years.
It’s time to construct a brand new one, together with a brand new Station No. 5 in Prathersville north of Columbia, fireplace district officers say. That’s a part of the rationale they’re asking voters April 6 to approve a $6 million bond difficulty, which might finance renovations and additions at different stations and start a 10-year effort to carry the district up to the mark in changing the district’s oldest autos.
This poll measure would prolong the tax for 2 years, Assistant Chief and Help Providers Bureau Director Gale Blomenkamp stated. The long-term purpose is to maintain the tax in place for 10 years by returning the difficulty to voters each different yr, for a complete of 5 bond points.
The fireplace district’s property tax levy may go down if voters don’t move the bond difficulty. Blomenkamp stated the $14 million in bonds that had been issued with voter approval in 2014 had been break up: About $6.9 million in bonds for autos had been to be repaid over 10 years however can be paid off two years forward of schedule. The opposite $7.1 million for brand new stations and growth had been amortized as 20-year bonds.
How a lot the tax would drop could be decided by the State Auditor’s workplace, Blomenkamp stated.
Twenty-three volunteer firefighters are assigned to Station No. 8 in south Columbia, according to the district’s website. Six volunteers dwell full time on the station, which the district has nicknamed “The Nation Membership.”
The station’s fleet features a fireplace engine, a tanker, a brush truck and a vibrant yellow river rescue boat, together with the 1954 firetruck generally known as Truman’s Taxi that carries Truman the Tiger and MU cheerleaders round Faurot Area throughout residence soccer video games. The station’s response space contains Rock Bridge Memorial State Park and the Missouri River, so its crew is usually answerable for water rescues.
The station’s workers responds to about 40 calls monthly, based on the district’s web site.
Firefighters on the station share a single small workplace of not more than 40 sq. toes. Bedrooms are harking back to dorm rooms — actually no larger — and have a single window. The station’s coaching room doubles as a exercise house cluttered with train tools and sheets.
The crew hangs out within the frequent space, furnished with two couches, a TV and a kitchen desk. A pc display in a single nook shows the county’s COVID-19 numbers, the situation of emergency calls and climate info.
The equipment bays, the place firefighters gear up earlier than responding to emergencies, open solely to the entrance of the station, whereas newer stations function doorways within the again.
If voters approve the bond difficulty, $1.2 million of the proceeds would go towards buying land, designing the brand new stations and constructing a storm shelter at Station No. 12 in east Columbia. If there’s any cash left over, that may go towards web site work on the properties for the brand new stations. Building could be financed by one other bond difficulty.
The brand new substitute stations could be close to the present stations, which might maintain working whereas the brand new ones are being constructed. The district might want to purchase property as a result of the websites of the present stations aren’t massive sufficient to accommodate new ones.
Blomenkamp stated Station Nos. 5 and eight lack sufficient dwelling house. The brand new ones could be extra just like the district’s latest station, No. 16 on Route HH northeast of Columbia, which opened in 2017.
The brand new stations would have considerably larger bedrooms with lofts and house for a sofa and maybe a TV. In addition they would have bigger kitchens and bogs, in addition to extra spacious frequent areas and bigger coaching rooms.
Invoice Watkins, secretary of the hearth district’s board of administrators and Columbia’s former metropolis supervisor, stated Station No. 8 additionally must be expanded as a result of it’s getting busier.
“It’s nearly subsequent to town limits. It’s a rising space,” Watkins stated. “We have to have the choice of increasing the equipment that we’ve got there.”
One purpose for Station No. 8 is to have three or 4 taller, drive-thru equipment bays. The three bays on the station now are stacked two autos deep. When firefighters return from a name, they must take the time to maneuver some autos out and again others in, relatively than coming into by means of the again.
Getting old fleet
The district plans to spend nearly $4.8 million of the bond proceeds to purchase 5 new fireplace engines, 4 new tankers and 5 new brush vans.
Blomenkamp stated some autos within the district’s fleet are greater than 20 years previous and should be changed as a result of they lack technological developments that make firefighting simpler. Older vans additionally value extra to keep up in contrast with newer vans.
Years in the past, fireplace engines simply sprayed water. Today, they’ll add foam to the water stream, which helps it penetrate frequent combustibles reminiscent of wooden and plastics. The most recent engines are outfitted with programs that inject each foam and compressed air into the water stream, considerably lowering water use, which is useful in rural areas that lack easy accessibility to fireside hydrants.
Blomenkamp recalled a latest fireplace at a small home. “I feel we flowed about 30,000 gallons of water,” he stated. “With a compressed air foam system, we would have put that fireside out with six or 7,000 gallons of water.”
Seven fireplace engines the district purchased with the 2014 bond proceeds have the compressed air foam system. The 5 engines the district hopes to switch are a technology behind with simply water and foam, Blomenkamp stated.
Watkins stated the purpose is to switch each automobile as wanted.
“There’s a great want,” he stated. “It should carry us up to the mark.”
Finally, 14 of the district’s 15 stations will get a brand new automobile if voters approve the bond difficulty. The one exception is Station No. 12, which was outfitted with a brand new brush truck and fireplace engine in 2014. Blomenkamp stated the concept is to unfold the bond proceeds throughout the district.
“When you dwell in Sturgeon, why would you need to vote for a rise in the event you’re not going to see any profit from it,” Blomenkamp requested.
Blomenkamp stated that if the bond difficulty passes it could be 12 to 14 months earlier than new fireplace vans are delivered.