Paying for a new Fire-EMS Station
WHY WESTLAKE NEEDS A NEW FIRE &
EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES (EMS) STATION - Part IV
Paying for a new Fire-EMS Station
Over the last few weeks, we have shared:
- plans for a new fire-EMS station for Westlake
- the importance of having high quality emergency medical services and fire suppression services readily available in Westlake for both residents and businesses (bi-annual citizen surveys reveal that residents greatly value emergency services and consistently rank them as a top priority)
- the inadequacy of the Town's current temporary station, both in terms of its inability to properly house our multi-million dollar fire and EMS equipment, but also to meet modern safety standards for our fire-EMS paramedics
- the current station is too small, not expandable, and does not meet the same standards to which the Town holds private developers
What about paying for a new fire station? Fortunately, the cost of land is covered because a site, valued at an estimated $1.7-$1.9 million, has been donated to the Town. The construction cost for a new 15,800 sq. ft. fire station is currently estimated at $8.9 million. We are conducting a cost analysis on this project to capture the rapidly changing construction costs and estimate this study to be completed by the end of October. This cost will be funded by bonds - the debt for which will be paid for by sales and use taxes and other general revenues such as permits, fees, and fines. Property taxes will not be raised to pay for this new station. In fact, the Town's property tax rate for the next fiscal year is $0.13695, compared to the $0.15634 rate in place for the current fiscal year.
Westlake's property tax rate remains the lowest of any city in the area - lower than most in the state.
Bonds would be issued for a 30-year period - a normal amortization for a public building like this. (It is important to remember that any bonds issued by the Town pay for capital assets which serve an estimated day time population of 14,000, due to our office campuses, not just our residents.) The majority of the Town's bonded indebtedness is paid from sales and use taxes, keeping our net per capita indebtedness low - low enough to have earned a AA+ bond rating from Standard & Poor's. The Town Council annually reviews and updates our five-year capital improvement plan and financial forecast. This ensures the Town is adequately investing to maintain existing public buildings and infrastructure while addressing needs like a new fire-EMS station - a need driven by our growth. All of this is done while maintaining a low tax property tax rate.
The Town's 30-year Comprehensive Plan forecasts that Westlake will ultimately need two fire-EMS stations at build out: at the proposed location at the northwest corner of Dove and Davis/FM 1938 and eventually in northwest Westlake near the intersection of State Highways 114 and 170.
This concludes our four-part discussion series on the need for a new fire-EMS station in Westlake.
As we move forward with the planning and design, we hope that you will email any questions or concerns you have to: firstname.lastname@example.org or give Assistant Town Manager Amanda DeGan a call at 817-490-5715. We are always available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Responding Today - Preparing for Tomorrow
A Fire-EMS Station Town Forum was held on September 20th, 2016.
We will be holding a second Fire-EMS Town Forum once design renderings are available; estimated 2017 - Q1. Stay tuned for updates!