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Fire Station rebuild plan could cost $5.89 million; town to consider bond vote langauge

STEVE REID
Editor & Publisher
sreid@lbknews.com

The Longboat Key Town Commission is slated to vote Monday, Oct. 2., on bond referendum language to ask voters to approve $5.895 million in bonds to pay for the redevelopment of the two aging Fire Stations.

Bonds are just one of the options in financing the project, which Town staff says is necessary to modernize and update the stations as well as meet code, gender and accessibility requirements. Last week at a workshop, the Town Commission reached consensus to move forward with voting on bond referendum language that voters would have to approve to pay for the project.

Last February, the Commission directed staff to come back with cost options to either renovate or completely rebuild the South Fire Station as well as plans and costs for renovating the North Station.

The option of building a new Fire Station on the South end of the island will cost $4,624,111. That amount would build a new single-story, 10,400 square-foot station.

The other option the Commission may pursue is to renovate the South Station, which would cost $2,506,007, and it would completely rehab and expand the existing South Fire Station to 9,100 square feet and provide separate gender accommodations and independent bunk areas for the firefighters.

The renovation of the North Fire Station which is 9,169 square feet, is estimated to cost $1,031,661.

All of the above options will include either a new or renovated interior, bathroom facilities, as well as roof strengthening to withstand higher wind loads.

Town Manager Dave Bullock outlined funding options. These include either using General Fund monies, money from the Infrastructure Surtax Funds, the use of debt — in other words the issuance of bonds — or a combination of the above. The Town Commission has opted to move forward with the bond approach.

Bullock outlined the cost to the Town and taxpayers if it were to bond all of the money for the more expensive option, which is the new construction of the South Station along with the renovation of the North Station.

If the Town issues $5,655,722 in revenue bonds for such a project, it would cost anywhere between $11 and $16.28 per year as a tax increase on a $500,000 home if the bonds were paid over 20 years.

If the bonds are paid over 25 years, the cost will vary between $6.49 to $11.88 per year on a $500,000 home. The disparity in the cost is due to the estimated interest rate, which has been projected between 3.36 percent and 4.89 percent for a 20-year bond and 3.58 percent and 5.12 percent for a 25-year bond.

On Monday, the Commission will hold a first reading bond language for a not-to-exceed amount of $5.895 million.

Fire Chief Paul Dezzi has said in presentations, as has a consultant, that the stations are antiquated and in need of the renovations to be on par with other regional facilities and meet the department’s needs going forward.

 

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