Relocation of Rolling Meadows fire stations up to $13 million

 
 
Posted5/16/2018 5:30 AM
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  • A sketch revealed Tuesday shows the proposed new Fire Station 15 at 3201 Algonquin Road in Rolling Meadows. Construction is set to begin in August.

    A sketch revealed Tuesday shows the proposed new Fire Station 15 at 3201 Algonquin Road in Rolling Meadows. Construction is set to begin in August. Courtesy of the City of Rolling Meadows

Rolling Meadows officials Tuesday unveiled renderings of the city's two new fire stations and an updated budget estimate -- $13 million -- for how much the relocation plan will cost.

That dollar amount is $4 million more than estimates developed at least five years ago, city officials said.

City Manager Barry Krumstok told aldermen at a committee of the whole meeting Tuesday night that the price of acquiring land for the two stations was more than predicted, along with the expected cost of stormwater detention. Another higher expense is for a vehicle exhaust system that will be installed at the stations, Krumstok added.

The city plans to pay for the project by issuing general obligation bonds. Preliminary plans discussed Tuesday involve borrowing $13 million for the fire stations and another $2 million to $7 million for roads and utilities citywide.

Under one scenario, the city could do a $10 million bond issue this year, and another $5 million to $10 million issue next year, according to Finance Director Melissa Gallagher.

Mayor Len Prejna and Alderman Mike Cannon asked city staff what financial impact the project would have on residents, and if it could lead to an increase in taxes.

"It's nice to issue all these bonds and two fire stations," Prejna said. "But how will taxes be increased to residents? We don't know that yet. To me, that's most important."

The city has hiked its property tax levy 4.8 percent in each of the last two years -- mainly to fund police and fire pensions and roads -- and Krumstok said Tuesday another levy increase is probable.

Gallagher added after the meeting that the impact to residents is expected to be "minimal" since the city is replacing old debt -- already paid off in 2017 -- with new debt.

The city is planning to build the new firehouses to replace the two existing stations, with a goal of improving response times and reducing fire risk throughout town. Station 15, at 3111 Meadow Drive, was built in 1958, and Station 16, at 2455 S. Plum Grove Road, was built in 1980.

Last month, crews completed demolition of the former Woo Lae Oak Korean restaurant at 3201 Algonquin Road, where construction is set to begin in August on the new 12,700-square-foot Station 15, said Terry Bohr, a senior consultant with R.C. Wegman Construction Co., the firm hired to manage the fire station projects.

The city is now closing on property at 2320-2350 Hicks Road for the new 12,900-square-foot Station 16, for which construction would start 6-8 weeks after work begins on Station 15, Bohr said. The Hicks Road site has yet to be cleared of two buildings.

The site plans for both stations -- featuring three apparatus bays, living quarters and offices -- is similar, according to Scott Rihel, a senior architect with Healy Bender.

Officials expect to go out to bid in the next month. Construction of the stations could take 18 months.

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