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Fire station delays cause head scratching

What's taking so long and how much is it going to cost us now?

Those were the questions a Decatur Township trustee posed this week about the township's new fire station.

Ground was broken for the fire station in November 2002. Since then, township residents and firefighters have been waiting to see a finished product.

They're still waiting. And they may be paying more to see it happen.

Trustee Patty Cox said township officials recently received a letter from the Ironton-Lawrence County Community Action Organization, which oversees the construction project, detailing cost overruns on the fire station construction. The letter did not specify how much more money might be needed to complete the project.

"Dale (Mootz, of CAO) said it should be done in two weeks if we did the outside work. Now we get a letter on expenditures we're responsible for. We paid over $9,000 and it's still not done," Cox said.

" … The firefighters are frustrated. We're all frustrated," she said.

Cox said trustees have agreed to do exterior work at the site to complete the project.

"The parking lot has to be graveled or paved, the highway apron has to be completed, there has to be a level indicator on the water collection tank at the building, we still have to have a plumbing inspection," Mootz said.

The project is being paid for through state Issue 2 funds. It has been fraught with problems almost since its inception.

The original site for the fire department was deemed unsuitable. Land was purchased a half-mile away, which dictated going through the permitting process again. The project was rebid after initial bids came in over budget.

These issues hiked the price tag from the original $200,000 to $250,000, Mootz said. He said the CAO will forego some of its charges for its work on the project.

In October 2004, Mootz

asked for an additional $18,969.47 because of cost overruns. At that time, the Lawrence County Commission agreed to split the cost with the township.

"What we don't understand, it was over budget and we paid $9,000 and now this," Cox said. "It's never ending and it's not our fault. Something's got to be done."

Mootz said he would like to have a meeting with township trustees to discuss matters of concern.