|Hornbeak officials looking to future |
|Posted: Wednesday, September 12, 2012 9:02 pm |
|By CHRIS MENEES |
Hornbeak’s leaders are looking to the future.
They hope that future includes a new fire station to replace an aging building which is no longer structurally sound.
Hornbeak aldermen dis-cussed various grant funding options with Shannon Cotter of Rossville-based SIC Project Management during their monthly meeting Tuesday night.
The consultant and al-dermen weighed various options for fire station funding, including the possibility of either a Community Development Block Grant or a Tennessee Emergency Management Agency disaster grant. Ms. Cotter said a fire station is eligible under CDBG funding and Hornbeak is 95 percent grant eligible, but it was noted the town’s sewer project with CDBG funding must be closed out by early next year in order to meet the deadline.
Ms. Cotter suggested the town retain an architect to help determine what type of building is needed and get an opinion of cost before proceeding. She said many engineering and architectural firms will work on a pro bono basis knowing their work is being used as a “footprint” until funding is determined and she said the town will have to choose one firm to obtain an opinion of cost for a grant application.
Hornbeak Vice Mayor Dennis Dozier, presiding in the absence of Mayor Pete Burpo, said site preparation is currently under way at the former elementary school location across from City Hall. He explained the cost of land is not a problem and the town would see an immediate cost savings in that aspect.
Hornbeak Fire Chief Bob Reavis has been considering options for quite some time and he said he knows what amount is needed to cover a payment for a matching grant or a loan, as well as utilities and insurance. He said he desperately wants the town to have a new fire station, but not if the town can’t afford to pay its share.
Reavis said the current fire station next door to City Hall is “literally falling in a hole” and is not structurally sound, due to a problem with cracks in the foundation and floors. He said it is not a dangerous situation yet, but he said the fire department cannot raise the height of its bays any farther and is having to buy trucks which fit the building.
“It’s definitely a safety deal,” Ms. Cotter said.
The board voted to proceed by allowing Ms. Cotter to write procurement letters which the town will send to several firms to obtain an opinion of cost for a new fire station.
In other discussion of Hornbeak’s future growth, the board voted Tuesday night to move forward with annexation plans with the adoption of two resolutions — one to hold a public hearing to annex territories around the existing city limits and the other to hold a public hearing for a plan of service.
A requirement of the process is that legal notices be published in the newspaper a set number of days prior to the hearings.
In other action during Tuesday night’s 70-minute meeting, the Hornbeak board of aldermen:
• Approved amending the town’s charter to change the number of aldermen to five, rather than seven, and to change regular meetings to the second Tuesday of each month, rather than the first Tuesday.
Dozier said there has been a problem with trying to find seven people willing to run for aldermen positions, with only five people meeting the election deadline to fill the seven positions in November’s city election. He said the Municipal Technical Advisory Service previously suggested dropping the number of aldermen to three, but alderman Paul Truett suggested five and alderman Debi Jerden said she wouldn’t like having only three. Alderman Leon Walden pointed out that five people had recently qualified for the election.
In changing the regular meeting night to a week later, it was noted it is often difficult for the city recorder to assemble reports and information for a meeting held so close to the first of the month.
Dozier said the town’s charter will have to be rewritten and sent to the state’s General Assembly for approval and he speculated it could be several months before the changes are made.
• Voted to allow the Tennessee Department of Transportation to remove a traffic signal device near the fire station on West Main Street, a recommendation made by TDOT following a road safety audit review of State Route 21. The signal is not functional.
The board approved removing the signal, contingent upon TDOT’s giving the device to the town due to its historical significance in the community.
• Voted to get the town’s fire extinguishers up to date and purchase what is needed, based on recommendations from the town’s insurance carrier.
• Approved building a closet in the community room at City Hall in order to provide much-needed storage for city files.
• Discussed the historical significance and options for using a very large piece of concrete saved from the old school building. For now, the board decided to leave the piece at the former school site while dirt work continues.
• Learned the Hornbeak Community Club has set Sept. 28-29 as the dates for a communitywide yard sale, with anyone in the town invited to participate, and has set Nov. 15 from 10-11:30 a.m. as the date for a town social, which will include refreshments and a guest speaker for the community’s enjoyment.
• Learned the town’s new playground equipment is finished and work is continuing on the walking trail at the park.
• Was informed by Reavis that 462 rural fire contracts have been received for the town’s rural fire service, with a few more pending, and total collections should be about $35,000.
He also noted a forestry grant was received, with some equipment ordered, and he said repairs are currently being made to a fire engine before repair work begins on the town’s other firetruck, with the hope of having all repairs done before the start of fire season in a couple of months.
Reavis also said work has been completed to bring the fire department’s radio equipment and software in compliance with FCC regulations for narrow banding.
Walden thanked Reavis and the members of the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department for their work, which is entirely volunteer, and he said Hornbeak has “a very good department.” Reavis said the department can always use more volunteers who share the firefighters’ passion for helping others and serving their community.
In addition to Burpo, aldermen Lynn Finch and Christina Gray were absent from Tuesday night’s meeting.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Published in The Messenger 9.12.12