Fairview Mayor Advises a Decision Needs to Be Made
At the well-attended Jan. 24 Special Meeting of the Fairview Town Council, the goal stated on the agenda was to, “Discuss planning for future town fire facilities including future equipment, site layouts, design elevations, construction process, estimated costs, funding and financing, and any related matters, and take any necessary action.” The meeting was called to order at 5:59 p.m. and adjourned at 8:29 p.m.
The meeting began with Town of Fairview City Manager, Julie Couch answering questions that were proposed at the Jan. 16 meeting. Questions covered topics of the physical property needed for Fire Station #1 as well as budget questions.
Town of Fairview Mayor Darion Culbertson began the evening’s discussion by stating, “Tonight is about additional education, there will be no votes.” He presented a slide titled ‘Cost Alternatives and Debt Impacts.’ Concluding, he said, “There is no reason to raise property taxes. In my opinion, we can come up with that amount.” Throughout the 2.5 hour meeting, Mayor Culbertson reiterated that property taxes will not be increased. (To view the slide presentation, go to www.fairviewtexas.org/capital-facilities-plan and select Mayor's Funding presentation - January 24, 2019.)
Council members Henry Lessner, Paul Hendricks and Cynthia Brugge each thanked Mayor Culbertson for supplying this plan. Lessner said, “What we are doing now is for our current needs. It is flexible and we can add to it later.” Brugge said, “Mayor Culbertson has come up with a great plan to have firefighters on Highway 5. I feel good about this.”
Mayor Culbertson said that the bonds will be callable and the Town will be able to refinance them, maybe for cheaper rates, which provides for flexibility.
When the meeting was opened to public comment, a combination of CRG (Citizen’s Response Group) members and concerned citizens addressed council and town staff. A resident brought up a question he said he has asked before, but had not received an answer: What if we sold this building (Town Hall) and leased it back. What interest have we had in that? He continued, “This would be a great office building, but not an ideal city hall. What is the value of this building?” He added, “It would be more productive for Town Hall not to have an unused third floor.” Council member Tony Mattei said, “I applaud you for coming up with ideas. I think we should always look for ways to save costs. I think we should look into this idea.”
Discussion was had regarding the options of a hardened bunker versus a hardened conference room. A resident questioned if a hardened bunker is required. He was told yes, it was. Regarding the hardened conference room, Mattei said, “The space is not that much larger…in the conference room, there would be a communication system in place, where as in the bunker, there would not be.” The resident asked, “Wasn’t there also a benefit for firefighters to get to the conference room versus the bunker?” Mayor Culbertson answer that he was correct. Brugge provided additional insight, “People believe, and I feel strongly, that the extra space (in the conference room) is useful. The conference room will be utilized by the Town. It is where decision makers will gather in an emergency. We don’t have a space in Fairview to bunker up. It will be more than just a place for firefighters to go in case of tornadoes.” Another resident questioned if it wouldn’t be wiser to build the bunker at Town Hall. “Seems to be perception that we’d pull staff to the bunker. The probability is that a tornado would get both buildings (Town Hall and Fire Station #1). You’ll have a concrete bunker in the middle of debris.”
Veering off of the Fire Station #1 topic, a resident posed a need for a more accessible police department by giving a scenario of a person being nefariously followed while they were driving. He said if they wanted to drive to the police station for help, the best they could do would be to circle Town Hall honking their horn and hope that someone heard them honking.
Discussion regarding the fact that over the years, with the potential anticipated planned growth in Fairview, the TIF (Tax Increase Funding) will be affected.
The fact that some involved in this project are investigating the cost of nearby fire stations, some which were recently built, was mentioned.
Along with the repeated message by Mayor Culbertson that there will not be an increase of property taxes with this plan, was also the repeated message that it is important that council make a decision between the north site or mid site, hardened bunker or hardened conference room.