November 1, 2014

Plans for new fire hall over budget

By Matt Keeton
Staff Writer | reporter@ogemawherald.com
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STANDISH — It was recently brought to the attention of the Standish Area Fire Authority Board that plans for a proposed fire hall are currently more than $100,000 over budget.

According to Standish Area Fire Authority Chairman Jeff Trombley, engineering and architectural plans submitted to the board at a special meeting Jan. 10 estimate the project to cost $695,429.

“Our total budget is $585,000,” Trombley said. “We’re (around) $110,000 over budget.”

According to Trombley, the fire authority is working to bring costs within budget before submitting construction plans to the United States Department of Agriculture for approval.

“They (USDA) have to approve it,” Trombley said. “We’re using a grant and loan from them.”

Consulting Engineer Adam Ball, of Surveying Solutions Inc., said a total of $485,000 is coming from the USDA, leaving $100,000 of the budget to the fire authority.

Ball added that the fire authority will have to cover any extra costs if the project goes over budget.

“There’s $200,000 in grants coming from the stimulus bill and then $285,000 that is a loan,” Ball said. “Anything over that $585,000 will have to come from the fire authority.

According to Ball, some of the unanticipated expenses for the project come from the installation of water and sewage lines, as well as utilities such as gas and electricity. However, he said, the majority of extra costs stem from the construction of the building itself.

“Somewhere in the $300,000 range is what was expected for the building to cost,” Ball said. “Right now, it’s at $447,000.”

Ball said that number has decreased somewhat since the Jan. 10 meeting because of work by the fire authority to bring costs down. He said they will want to continue to bring the projected cost down, because they will not know for sure how much the project will cost until contractors make bids on it.

“You just want to be slightly conservative, so you don’t get surprised at the end of the day,” Ball said.

Trombley said he would like to see the fire authority bring the project within budget by the end of the month, but he expects it to take a little longer.

“I’m hoping the end of the month, but I’m expecting something in the first couple weeks of February,” Trombley said.

Trombley said the issue will likely be brought up at the fire authority’s Jan. 25 meeting.

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