The upcoming construction of a new fire house for the Devine Volunteer Fire Department was the main topic of conversation in the Medina County ESD #2 Board meeting held on Tuesday, March 14.
President Todd Summers, Vice President John Barron, Secretary Brenda Butler, and Assistant Treasurer Chris McGuairt were all in attendance. Treasurer Phillip Fitch was absent.
The prospective fire house is set to be built on land on CR 5710, between Hwy. 173 and FM 2200.
Summers said that the Board has signed a service agreement with City Engineer Raul Garcia of Garcia & Wright Consulting Engineers, Inc., and needed to provide him with the names of builders they want to bid on constructing the new fire house so that Requests for Proposals (RFQs) can go out.
He explained that once contractors have responded, the RFQs will be scored. Those with the top three scores would then be interviewed and scored a second time before the top candidate was offered the job.
Discussion of budgets and projected costs are illegal during the RFQ process.
“We pick who we believe is best qualified for the job, then we start negotiating with them,” Summers said. “If for some reason we can’t come to terms, then we excuse them from the process and we go to the second person on the list and start the [negotiation] process all over.”
As a Public Works project, the venture is subject to a stringent process.
“Once you’re an ESD and using taxpayers’ money, it changes the way you have to go about it,” Barron said.
“The process is the way it is because we’ve all read articles across the state of fraud and different things going on,” Summers said. “And it happens all the time. And that’s why [the process] is designed the way it is. It’s designed to try to cut that out.”
The top three candidates will likely be interviewed and scored on the same day, a process that will include Garcia. A tentative budget of between $1M and $1.3M has been set.
“That number’s not going to be real relevant until we sit down with the builder and start getting their input about what the real cost’s going to be,” Summers said. “Who knows, maybe it’s going to be less.”
The new fire house will be an all-metal building, ideally with six bays.
“We’re gonna get as much as we can for the money that we’ve saved up,” Summers said. “We’ve saved up a lot of money for this, but in being good stewards of the taxpayers’ money. That’s our ultimate goal.”
Nancy Pepper delivered the treasurer’s report. She noted that the ESD’s fiscal year begins in October, and that $287,000 of an anticipated $335,000 had been collected. There is $472,000 in the operating budget.
The $12,000 interest payment to Security Bank for the note taken out for a fire truck is due, but because the ESD’s online bill payment is limited to $10,000, the note needed to be paid with a physical check.
“I have a letter for two of our officers to sign stating that we’re requesting that the online bill payment limit be raised to $15,000 so we can make those payments,” Pepper said. “And then those payments will be made automatically.”
A Barron-McGuairt motion to accept the treasurer’s report as presented passed 4-0.
Johnson informed the Board that the TECGEN Wildland jumpsuits he quoted to the Board at around $400 apiece are actually priced at $448 apiece, bringing the total cost for eight from $3,200 up to $3,584, not including shipping.
A Barron-McGuairt motion to amend the previously-approved amount of $3,500 for eight jumpsuits to $4,000 passed 4-0.
Johnson reported that the fire department responded to 19 calls in February, including one grass fire, seven brush fires, and five canceled en routes.
“When the rain stops, we’re going to get busy,” Johnson said. “All the grass is nice and tall.”
The department had responded to 49 calls in 2017 as of March 14.
The next ESD #2 Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 at 6:30 pm at the Devine VFD fire department.
By Marly Davis