Stewartville council to review fire hall referendum
STEWARTVILLE — On Jan. 22, Stewartville City Council members will decide whether to go to voters in March and ask for $1.8 million in general obligation bonds for a new fire hall.
The roof of the existing hall is sagging, and fire trucks fit into the building's garage with only inches to spare.
Since 2007, a task force has researched ways to finance remodeling or rebuilding the fire hall, which also houses the first responders' trucks and gear. The building also contains offices and a meeting room, where the drooping roof is readily apparent. Several red-painted, steel posts support the rafters.
Sagging trusses in the building dipped even more after the heavy snows of 2009 and 2010.
The city sought emergency funding through a state bonding bill in 2011 to help pay for a new building, but that portion of the bill was not funded.
To fix the roof, work on the ceiling and ductwork would also be required. The task force and city council members decided that fixing the old building would be a waste of money and that a new building is needed.
The hall services the cities of Stewartville, Racine and the townships of Racine, Pleasant Grove, High Forest, Rock Dell, and Sumner.
With a 20-year maturity, the bond would cost the owner of a $150,000 home an extra $4 a month in property taxes.
Last year, the city hired Five Bugles Design to design a new building. Representatives from the firm presented the plans to city council members during their Jan 8, 2013, meeting.
The plans are available at city hall for review. Members of city staff and the council will also be meeting with civic groups in the weeks ahead to present the plans and answer questions about the referendum.