Fire station funding discussed

  • Thursday, January 2, 2014

The City of Goose Creek is looking at 14 bids from 16 contractors to build two new fire stations.

Funding for two new fire stations was discussed at a city council workshop on Dec. 12.

The estimated cost of the two stations — a headquarters and substation — is $13.4 million. The headquarters station will be 36,000 square feet and the substation will be about 10,000 square feet.

City Administrator Dennis Harmon said there has been some discussion about using a general obligation bond to pay for the stations.

The city has never issued a general obligation bond because it has always been too small, Harmon said.

“We could issue $9.2 million in general obligation bonds,” Harmon said. “I would recommend this for other buildings.”

Harmon said he recommends using installment purchase revenue bonds.

Mayor Michael Heitzler clarified that the difference in the two bonds is if the city can’t pay them back then they don’t own the building.

“Rates are virtually the same, but you’re not levering the city,” Harmon said. “That makes it easier.”

Debt repayment would come from several revenue sources, he said.

“Once we know what the numbers are and have a firm quote from a bank in hour hands then we can issue an ordinance to council,” Harmon said.

Of all the debt the city has issued, six of them have been paid off early, according to Harmon.

“We’re going to be aggressive unless you tell us to slow down,” Harmon said. “Detail is not what we need at this stage. You’ll get all the detail you can handle from this point forward. There’s no magic to it. Debt is debt.”

“I think we need to stay aggressive so we can stay on schedule,” Councilmember Franklin Moore said.

If all goes well the facilities should be operating by mid-year 2015, according to Harmon.

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