Fairview Town Council Continues to Hone Proposed Fire Station No. 1 Construction Project
You might describe the Fairview Town Council as relentless and you wouldn’t be wrong. Just when it looked like the Council’s twenty-four month long quest to develop a new proposal to build and finance a replacement for Fire Station No. 1 might be ending, Councilmember Tony Mattei, one of three new members who took office last June (Cynthia Brugge and Roland Feldman are the other two), re-opened discussion about the proposed cost ceiling. “I am passionate about continuing to find ways to bring the project cost down.” This despite the fact that the current proposal is a bit less than just 30% of the $25 million bond proposal that failed colossally in November 2017.
The agenda for the Council’s March 5 meeting led many observers to believe that it would likely be an early night before the meeting began. But that was not to be. The meeting began at 7:30 pm and adjourned at close to 11:00 pm. Much of the council’s time was consumed by another round of discussion and debate relating to the Fire Station No. 1 bond proposal that is now scheduled for the May 4th election. Among the actions taken:
· Rescinding the approval of the council’s minutes of the meeting of February 5 that was adopted earlier in this meeting to allow Town Secretary Bethel to review the audio tapes of that meeting to ensure the minutes accurately reflect the language of Councilmember Lessner’s motion approving the inclusion of the project for the May 4th bond election.
· Instructed the Town Manager to consult with officials in DeSoto about the cost of that city’s newest fire station that is approximately the same size as the proposed new Fairview station but at a significantly lower cost.
It is important to understand that while the council has capped the proposed fire station project at about $9 million or less, the actual cost of construction will ultimately be determined only when actual construction bids are received by dozens of different contractors.
Nevertheless, Councilmember Mattei believes that Fairview, “Needs to squeeze all potential costs down now and not just after a bond proposal might be approved by voters”.
The council’s commitment to delivering a new fire station at the lowest potential cost is laudable even if the process has become exasperating at times for both council members and residents. Given the cost and importance of a project of this kind attention to detail only seems appropriate.
The council will provide a series of four Town Hall meetings prior to the May 4th election to provide residents with adequate opportunities to ask questions and learn more about the project’s details. The dates, times and locations of four meetings will be announced by the Town shortly. In addition, council members also agreed to meet with any Fairview Homeowners associations that might be interested in having a member meet with residents. To provide residents with information about the bond election the Town Manager Julie Couch disclosed plans to distribute a brochure to all residents, include information on the town’s website (www.fairviewtexas.org); provide an insert in utility bills and to include information in the town’s Nixle Notification System, an SMS text service (You can sign up by texting the word Fairview to 888777).
Another issue that took up lots of time had to do with a proposal to award a bid and to initiate financing for the construction of a new water Pump Station, a 1.5 million gallon Ground Storage Reservoir No. 1 at F.M. 1378 (Country Club Road) and a computerized metering system designed to constantly maintain optimum water supplies.
With the town’s population now swelling to about 9,500, the council is obligated by Texas law to ensure that adequate water is available at all times, including when one of the current pumping stations might be unable to supply adequate water and water pressure (a minimum of 35 PSI), as was the case in the autumn of 2018. Had the proposed water pumping station been online at the time, most agree that the west side of town would not have faced nearly two days of extremely low water pressure as well as a “boil water” requirement. The cost of this project is roughly $9.5 million. Councilmember Brugge, who has established herself as a consistent fiscal conservative on spending issues observed that, “The state is warning us that this needs to be done now.” On February 7 five bids for the project were opened. The council unanimously approved awarding the project to Crescent Construction and instructed staff to enter into a contract for the construction of the project. The cost of the project will be financed for 20 years and there will be no impact on water rates for the debt. In the first three years, the annual cost to the town will be about $330,000 and in the remaining seventeen years the annual cost would be about $450,000. The interest rate is likely to be in the range of 4 to 4.5%.
Fairview Police Chief Granville Tolliver presented the annual Racial Profiling Report that is required of all towns and cities by Texas law. Tolliver opened by saying, “Irrespective of this legal requirement, I want to assure the council and residents that we are constantly aware of the need to consistently avoid any racial profiling whatsoever.” The 2018 report reveals that the police department initiated 4,338 contacts with drivers for moving, non-moving and non-traffic related reasons. Of the total, ten resulted in an arrest; seventeen in an arrest/citation; seven in an arrest/warning; 2,995 resulted in a citation; 1,309 in warnings either written or oral. Of those contacted by police, the racial/ethnic breakdown is: Asian/Pacific Islanders 3.46%; Black 16.44%; Hispanic 17.10%; Alaskan Native/American Indian 0.16%; and White 62.84%. Chief Tolliver concluded his report by informing the council that Fairview’s results have been consistent from year to year.
In other matters, a resident reports that the TxDOT reconstruction of Stacy Road includes a turn lane at the intersection of Stacy Road and Old Stacy Road that is poorly planned and should be redone. The turn lane for eastbound traffic does not align properly with the entry to Old Stacy Road and requires drivers to compensate by negotiating their vehicles in mid-turn to align. In wet or icy conditions, it presents an inherent danger. Town Engineer James Chancellor made note of this concern and will discuss it with TxDOT.
Finally, Chancellor reports that reconstruction of Stacy Road including the intersection at Greenville Avenue will be completed in May as will the East Stacy Road construction from Thompson Springs Road to Orr Road.