Timeline of new fire department
Driving by the new construction of the fire station on Airline Road, I became interested in the time line of the construction:
The following was reported in The Commercial Dispatch:
9-26-2015: Cost of new fire station $600,000: $300,000 from the city and $300,00 from Mississippi Insurance rebates. J-5, Neil Schaffer and LPK Architects providing services pro-bono. Public works and fire fighters providing labor. 9,000 square foot building.
7-21-2016: Construction started: 10,000 square foot building, cost estimate $640,000 according to Robyn Eastman of J-5.
9-7-2017: $500.000 insurance rebate; $375,000 work completed; $200,000 left to spend; $1,000,000 projected cost; Completion date early 2018.
12-28-2018: Chief Andrews reported fire station cost more expensive than initially reported; new plan needed. Initial plans cost $28,000 paid to a Biloxi firm Machado Patano; Mayor reported new plans could save $375,000; City secured $700,000 capital improvement loan; Still have a $500,000 insurance rebate; Ralph McClain to redraw plans at no cost; $400,000 completed; Waiting for plans for HAVC and Electrical; Mayor says time is of the essence.
3-19-2019: Bids accepted for electrical $162,500 and $99,705 for HAVC; $700,000 capital improvement loan, Chief Andrews doesn’t expect cost to exceed the $700,000 loan. $400,000 work completed.
We are approaching the 5-year mark in completing the new fire station. My question is why is it taking so long if we have a $90,000 per year plus 6 percent of construction cost to the J5 firm to over all construction? What are we getting for the monies paid? Why did we go to Biloxi for the original plans? Somebody has been snookered and it is the taxpayers. I feel we are owed an explanation from the mayor, fire chief and J5.
No wonder our streets, drainage and everything else is going to hell in a hand basket. The city can’t build a 10,000 square foot building in 36 months. Efficiency is not in the current administration’s vocabulary. Unless the public takes a stand and demands accountability and transparency, we will get nothing more. The city administration will not give the public a true financial report. How much has J5 been paid over the past 6-plus years? Who knows what else is going on? The city belongs to the citizens, not to those elected to run the town. Accountability and transparency is all I am asking for. Please join me and a few others that are concerned in taking our fair city back.
God Bless Columbus and America.
Lee Roy Lollar