New Bethel fire station down to final OKs

jmarks@lakewyliepilot.comApril 2, 2013 

— The York County Council is moving forward on plans for a new Lake Wylie fire station.

Council members approved at a special meeting March 25 the first of three needed readings to add $1.5 million in loans for the Bethel Rural Fire Tax District, which largely funds the department.

The tax district board previously approved up to $2 million for the new Bethel Volunteer Fire Department station beside the existing one at S.C. 557 and Oakridge Road.

Chief Michael Laws said the plan is “pretty well locked in” to cost $2 million. The fire district’s budget of almost $900,000 includes $500,000 for the new station. The $1.5 million would allow the district to begin work once council members approve a final plan. Money would be paid back through the local tax.

“If the recommended amendment amount of $1.5 million is approved,” wrote county finance director Beth Latham in a memo, “the district will have the funding available when Council is prepared to approve an award.”

The tax board met again March 27 and everything is on for the new 1,400-square-foot station with space for five trucks.

“It should be everything we need it to be,” Laws said.

Finalizing the available cash could come quickly.

A request for financing proposals to banks were due back Monday, April 1. By Thursday, a recommendation should be put on council’s agenda April 8. Closing would take place after the third reading, likely April 22.

Council votes are the last major step before construction can begin, Laws said.

Last week’s move followed a March bid approval of more than $23,000 in new equipment for the department. Bethel requested and was approved for up to $28,000 to purchase 15 new air cylinders, two air packs to hold the cylinders and 10 voice amplifiers that attach to face masks. More than 40 vendors submitted bids. The cost came in at $23,427.65.

“This new equipment will replace their outdated cylinders, air packs and voice pieces that have met their life expectancy,” read the recommendation approved by council.

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