After discussing the need and considering several different location since the late 1990s, the city of Carthage is moving forward to build a second fire station in the south part of the city.

After discussing the need and considering several different location since the late 1990s, the city of Carthage is moving forward to build a second fire station in the south part of the city.
The Carthage City Council Public Safety Committee voted unanimously to recommend the full city Council approve the low bid from Crossland Construction of $1,542,000 to build a fire station in the Peach Tree Addition near the southernmost Carthage I-49 interchange just off south Grand Avenue.
The bid was the lowest of seven bids submitted to the city.
The highest bid was $1,942,448 from a Neosho company. Five of the seven bids fell within about $115,000 of each other, ranging from $1,542,000 to $1,657,846.12.

Putting a fire station in the rapidly-growing, south part of Carthage has been under discussion for almost 20 years.
In the late 1990s, when Carthage Water & Electric Plant was building two huge new water towers, the city discussed putting a fire station in the base of the tower at River Street and Airport Drive, but that idea was scrapped.
Other locations, including on Hazel Avenue between Airport Drive and Fir Road and on Airport Drive near the intersection with Garrison Avenue, have been considered over the years.
More recently, the city accepted a land donation from the developers of the Peach Tree business addition between Fir Road, South Grand Avenue and Interstate 49 for the new station.
The location gives fire trucks access to South Grand to allow quicker response north into the south part of Carthage or south along Interstates 49 and 44 and into the rural Carthage Fire Protection District.

Promise to the people
In November 2011, when Carthage voters approved a quarter-cent fire-safety sales tax, one of the major selling points for the tax was the construction of a fire station on the south side of town.
The sales tax was projected to generate approximately $400,000 a year and is seven years into its 20-year term.
The city quickly upgraded the storm sirens around town, one of the major promises made in the campaign for the tax.
The fire department's vehicles are also on a replacement schedule, and a new pumper was bought using the proceeds from the tax.
Officials have said for years that the city was growing faster in the south than it was in the north.
A station in the south side of town was touted as a way to reduce response times to calls in the south part of Carthage and in the rural fire district south of town.
Council members mentioned that campaign in Tuesday's discussion.
“When the fire sales tax was passed, this was part of that,” said Council Member Jason Shelfer. “This was one of the selling points, was a station number two, in all the presentations that were made.”
“That was one of the promises that was made on that,” added Council Member Dan Rife.

Paying the bill
Fire Chief Roger Williams said the city and representatives of Crossland Construction will meet to go over specifics of the bid to see if things can be eliminated from the project to reduce the cost without affecting the usability of the building.
The bids are all well over the amount the city had budgeted for the project, said City Administrator Tom Short.
The city's 2017-18 budget has $1,186,000 for the second station, of which, the city has already spent a little over $200,000 on a road to the site, drainage improvements and engineering the project.
Short said the city has money in this year's budget for a roundabout at Fairlawn and Garrison that it will not spend because of delays getting the Missouri Department of Transportation's approval of the details, so that money can be moved to help build the fire station.
Short said the city may also have to take money from its unallocated fund balance to help pay for the building.
“We probably need about another $115,000 to come from the unallocated fund balance, which we do have,” Short said. “We'll have to talk to the budget committee about that at the next meeting.”
The bid will be considered at the next Carthage City Council meeting at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 28 at Carthage City Hall on the east side of the Square.