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Price approves feasibility study

Sun Advocate editor

Price officials authorized awarding the bid for conducting a feasibility study on constructing a new fire station at the last council meeting, However, the officials did not rule out the option of expanding the city's existing facility.

Introducing the matter on Sept. 24, Chief Paul Bedont indicated that the city's existing building lacks the space to adequately house fire department and hazardous materials team equipment.

The fire chief pointed out that Price previously budgeted $36,000 to complete the feasibility study and encouraged the council to approve proceeding with the initial stage in determining an efficient, cost-effective approach to remedy the deficiencies at the current facility.

Funding from the Utah Permanent Community Impact Board accounted for one-half of the revenues budgeted by the city to finance the study.

Basically, fire departments fall under three staffing categories - all volunteer, all paid and a combination of the two, explained Bedont.

Needs vary depending upon the type of department a public entity operates. Price presently encompasses approximately one-half of Carbon's total population.

In order to accommodate future growth while maintaining quality services and protecting the community, the city's combination fire department will require an expanded, updated facility.

"Local growth is an aspect to be considered," advised the fire chief.

The Price City Fire Department currently responds to 78 percent of the emergency calls dispatched county-wide, noted Mayor Joe Piccolo.

Breaking down the total number of responses to public safety dispatch center broadcasts, the fire chief estimated that 66 percent of the calls the department handles involve medical emergencies.

The emergency situations in question occur not only within Price city's boundaries, but at adjacent locations in Carbon County, pointed out the fire chief.

According to Bedont, the three steps involved in constructing a fire station include:

•The feasibility study phase of the development project.

•The architectural design phase of the project.

•The construction phase of the project.

Feasibility studies traditionally focus on identifying an individual fire department's needs, exploring alternative options and evaluating potential locations for the building, explained Bedont.

However, the expense involved in constructing a new station in Price may warrant evaluating the option of expanding the city's existing facility, added the fire chief.

The fire department has received bids on the study from two companies "well represented" at a recent fire station design seminar, continued Bedont.

The companies submitting proposals on the feasibility study have built at least 30 fire stations nationwide, primarily in the Western United States.

Responding to a suggestion from Councilmember Jeanne McEvoy, the fire chief indicated that he supported incorporating recommendations for reducing waste, cutting energy and improving efficiency at the station into the feasibility study.

"But everything comes with a cost," indicated Bedont. "Fire stations are expensive to build. But realistically, Price needs a new one."

The longevity of the current fire department building should be an additional 15 to 20 years, pointed out Councilmember Richard Tatton.

By comparison, Tatton indicated that the longevity of a new fire station would probably range between 40 and 50 plus years.

"I don't believe the current building has exceeded its life, yet. The city will not tear it down," commented Piccolo.

Following the discussion, the council passed a motion authorizing a committee comprised of the mayor, the fire chief and Price city's financial officer to award the bid on the fire station feasibility study.

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