FDDuring the most recent City Council meeting on October 20th one of the big items on the agenda was to consider a professional services agreement between the City of Brownfield and Parkhill, Smith, & Cooper, Inc. for architectural and engineering services for the design and construction of the City of Brownfield Fire Department Facility.

The council heard from two Parkhill, Smith & Cooper (PSC) representatives, who also presented a powerpoint presentation to the council. Talks of a new Fire Station began in late 2006 to early 2007 with PSC during the discussion about building a new Police Station. The original plan was to build both buildings at the same time but due to funds it was decided to build the Police Station then come back later and build the Fire Department.

The Police Station opened in 2013.

The location of the Fire Station will be 215 E. Broadway. It will be connected to the Police Station and there will be an access door joining the buildings. The completed Fire Station will be about 8,364 square feet according to the current plans.

The initial plans from almost 10 years ago include 3 drive-through bays, a tool repair and air pack repair room, storage and laundry. Men and Womens dorms, a multi purpose room, offices for the Fire Chief and Fire Marshall along with radio and records are all in the current plans.

Leon Pope, council member, asked if Fire Chief Dennis Rowe was involved in these plans. Rowe explained that originally he was and will be this time also, because there are some changes that he would like to make. When asked if they are major changes, Rowe said no.

As far as the cost of the building, the original budget was about $4M for both buildings combined. During the time between the planning stage and actual construction there was a construction boom and cost went up. The total cost of the Police Station ended up being over $3M leaving only $1M left in the budget for the Fire Station.

The current construction plan for the Fire Station is going to cost about $2.9M. That will make the cost about $6M total for the Police and Fire Stations. That will be about $2M over the original estimate.

These totals are not final numbers. There will be changes made to the plans but they are not sure yet what those changes will be. The changes will depend on what Rowe has planned.

The council did budget $375,000 for phase 1 of the Fire Station project for this year. The remaining cost will be spread out over three budget cycles. The bulk of the project will be spent during the second fiscal year, and the remaining cost in the third.

The design phase will take five to six months to complete according to PSC.

Council member, Chuck Nave asked, “How’s it going to get funded? Where’s the dollars coming from?”

Eldon Jobe, City Manager, responded, “It comes from the Reserves over the period of time.”

There is currently about $7M in Reserves. This project will drop the Reserves down to about $4M. Pope raised the question to Jobe if he was comfortable with taking $2M out of the Reserves over the next two years. Jobe thought they would be able to add some money back into Reserves by way of utility sales and general revenue.

It is recommended to keep 3 – 6 months worth of operating expenses in the Reserves. Three months of operating expenses are around $2.5M to $3M according to Jobe.

By unanimous decision the Council decided to move forward with phase 1 of the new Fire Station.