|Council Wants More Options for Temporary EMS Home|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Wednesday, 27 February 2013 00:00|
Tipp City Council appears to agree on details of the West Main Street Fire/EMS Station renovation and expansion project, but wants to hear more about options for a temporary home for EMS operations during that construction.
Council shot down a proposed temporary home for ambulance crews and vehicles in the former Municipal Building at Third and Main streets and the former fire station to the north Feb. 19. The temporary relocation would be for up to 10 months
Members said they were concerned with basing operations east of the railroad when the largest portion of residents, city schools and the interstate all lie west of the tracks.
City Manager Jon Crusey said potential locations west of the tracks were toured, but the cost to lease available facilities would be $15,000 to $20,000.
Those options were not considered economical, he said. “We didn’t think it would be very prudent to spend that kind of money if we had other options,” he said.
Administrators proposed the Municipal Building, now home to Tipp Monroe Community Services, as the best and most cost effective option. The ambulances need to be secured in a building because they carry medical supplies, Crusey said.
The cost to the city for temporary quarters at Community Services would be “low” and include items such as changing some locks and paying for increased utility usage at the building, he said.
Councilman Joe Gibson said he didn’t like the idea of ambulance response times possibly being delayed by a train going through town while crews were attempting to respond from downtown.
EMS Chief Mark Senseman said a one-time problem of trains stopped on the tracks has not been experienced the last couple of years, but there is no guarantee that won’t occur. Mayor Dee Gillis asked Senseman what set up would make him comfortable. “In a perfect world, I’d say spend the $20,000, but it isn’t (perfect) … We’re going to do what you ask us to do. If you don’t have to worry about money, then clearly, find some place west of the tracks,” he said.
Gillis said $20,000 likely would be a good investment. “If we have loss of life because we are slow, $20,000 isn’t that much,” she said.
Councilman Mike McDermott asked if the secure garage at the police department could be used during the construction. Councilman Bryan Budding asked if staff could find out how often the police department uses that area and if it could move operations those operations elsewhere temporarily. EMS crew quarters possibly could be relocated temporarily to a room in the Government Center.
Senseman said EMS crews, who work in shifts from the station, know the temporary location might not have shower facilities or a kitchen. The current station has limited living space for EMS, but more is included in the construction project.
Discussion was held on possibly leaving one ambulance at the main station during construction for use by volunteers to respond to an emergency call if a train was slowing response from east of the tracks.
Senseman said the problem would be getting volunteers to respond to that ambulance. With the way paid staff and volunteers are scheduled, volunteers often are not available if they are not on the schedule, Senseman said. “I would not be comfortable telling the community that because there is one (ambulance) at Hyatt and Main, that solves the problem because it does not,” he said.
Gibson said the lease should be explored again. “I just envision a bad situation,” he said.
Katelyn Berbach said she was OK with spending $20,000 on a lease “if most of the population is on the west side of the tracks, not to mention schools.”
And, she said, “It is not fair to put the police out.”
Crusey said he would talk with the police department about possible options at its facility and renew the lease exploration. The city has until April 1 to decide about the temporary EMS home, he said.
The most convenient location would be the former Clarks’ Pharmacy building next to the West Main Street station, Crusey said.
The fire department will continue to operate out of the main building during the construction project, Fire Chief Steve Kessler said.
Also at the Feb. 19 meeting, Crusey outlined the bids opened recently for the renovation/construction project. The low bidder was Brumbaugh Construction at $1,557,000. The project budget was $1.9 million, which includes $194,000 in architectural fees, leaving around $150,000 for furnishings and inspection services.
Council discussed project bid alternates such as roofing materials and will be asked to approve a contract at its next meeting.