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Posted October 4, 2012 | 1 Comment
Warren County to own fire station
Stanley: Deal should allow volunteer company to pay off $130,000 loan
By Alex Bridges - firstname.lastname@example.org
Warren County soon will own its first fire station.
A process started 10 years ago should reach its conclusion by the end of the year, according to County Administrator Douglas Stanley. At that point, the county would own the building that serves as the home to the North Warren Volunteer Fire and Rescue Support Company, Stanley explained Thursday.
The company would lease the property from the county. The deal also should allow the fire company to pay off a loan it used to build a second floor on the facility, Stanley said.
"Operationally, nothing will change," Stanley said, adding that North Warren Volunteer Fire Company 10 will be the building tenant.
At its meeting Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution to accept a deed to a 2.82-acre parcel from the North Warren Volunteer Fire and Rescue Support Company.
In most cases, a community pools its resources to build a fire station, which the volunteer organization then owns and maintains. Organizations obtain a mortgage from a bank, build the facility and then often receive some operational funding from the county, Stanley explained.
In Warren County, the local industry took the lead to build the fire station, indicating a need existed for coverage in that area, Stanley recalled. The county created a holding company in 2002 -- unique for local government -- with the intention of building a fire station for the community, he told the board.
The holding company consisted of representatives from the volunteer organization, industry and the county, which oversaw the construction of the facility. The county put up approximately $240,000. Local industry and new developments made similar pledges to help build the station. E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co. donated the land for the station, according to Stanley. The county and industry ultimately covered the cost of construction.
During the process, the fire company requested a second floor to serve as a meeting hall and kitchen for the facility, Stanley explained. The organization asked the holding company if it could use the land on which the station sits as collateral for a $200,000 loan to build the second floor. The fire company assumed the responsibility of paying off that loan, Stanley explained Tuesday.
The county gives the volunteer group approximately $64,000 each year to cover operating and equipment costs. The company used fundraising to pay off the loan, Stanley explained. Construction of the second floor was completed in 2003.
However, the company has paid approximately $60,000-$70,000 toward the loan over the past nine years, according to Stanley. At the current rate, it would take the company almost 30 years to pay off the loan, he said.
"The only sticking point is the fact that we've got a $130,000 loan hanging out in the air that the fire company thought it would've paid off by now," Stanley said.
That loan is not completely paid off.
"This actually will be a huge cost savings in the long run for the fire company because once it becomes a county facility we will be responsible for the insurance, we will take care of the grass mowing," Stanley added. "So in essence, it will allow the fire company some additional resources to be able to pay this note off in the next 10 years."
If the fire company defaults on the loan, the county then takes the local annual allocation and uses the money to help make the debt payment, Stanley explained. County Attorney Blair D. Mitchell said the board would need to approve the payment as an appropriation.