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Taylor Mill Commissioners vote to issue request for proposals to design, build new firehouse

By Patricia A. Scheyer
NKyTribune reporter

Taylor Mill Commissioners voted to put out a request for proposals for a build and design plan for a new firehouse for the city for the price of $4 million.

At the regular commission meeting Wednesday night, commissioners showed that they are still very divided on the issue of building a new firehouse versus fixing the old one.

Virtually the same group of residents attended this meeting as attended the January meeting, and they immediately made their feelings known.

(Screenshot from Taylor Mill Commission meeting)

“I heard a lot of people say, we have to take care of our firefighters,” said Meredith Simpson. “That’s understandable. I don’t think there is anyone here who doesn’t want to take care of our firefighters. The question is, at what cost? Is it necessary to build a new firehouse? I am a frugal person, and I expect the city that I live in to be frugal as well. I just don’t think the city has taken enough time to listen to the constituents to make an informed decision on what we want, and what’s necessary to have sufficient accommodations for those who serve us as firemen and women.”

She wanted to know what the city was basing its future growth claims on, and Mayor Daniel Bell explained that there will be approximately 300 new units housing families in the near future. That amount will be added to the current number of approximately 2600 homes in Taylor Mill.

Mike Blackburn brought up that the mayor had said ‘we’re all in this together’ but then they found out that some of the streets in the city might not be able to be fixed. He said he felt that the city needed to take care of its other responsibilities before they moved forward on a new firehouse.

Jeff Groneck challenged the commission on how many firefighters they expected to house at night.

“I’ve been there twice to pick up some equipment for another department and there were only two men in that firehouse, one was full-time and one was part-time,” he said.

City Administrator Brian Haney said that they always schedule four firefighters on at night but that doesn’t mean they’re always going to have four.

Groneck said he thought 7 bedrooms were excessive to have in the plans for the new firehouse.

Roger Reis wanted to know why the mayor felt that the problems with the firehouse could only be fixed by building a new firehouse. He asked if there has been any development in moving forward with the firehouse.

Mayor Bell said yes, they have decided on an option called design and build, where companies will give the city a price to design and build a firehouse, all for one price. They want to invite several companies to submit a plan of what they can design and build for $4 million. A motion was made, and Commissioners Caroline Braden, Dan Murray, and Mayor Bell voted yes, while Commissioners Mark Kreimborg and Ed Kuehne voted no.

“Nothing is set in stone that we’re going to do it this way,” said Commissioner Murray. “We are looking at our options.”

CAO Haney said the design and build option has been around for a while but hasn’t been used much. He explained that it was suggested to him that the city should use this method since Taylor Mill had a price they didn’t want to exceed for the firehouse.

“It makes sense,” he said. “Rather than us hiring an architect, the company will do the entire project, and then we will look at it, and if it is what we want, we would just have to fine-tune the project. We will have to see what the companies come back with in response to the RFP.”

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