It's a go. The Highland City Council agreed to accept a bid for the new fire station and go ahead with construction.
During the council meeting Feb. 17, Highland Mayor Jerome Norwood told the council that the lowest bid given to the city for the construction was $410,500. The bid was submitted by Province Construction, who Norwood and other council members agreed had a good reputation.
Norwood informed the council that they had budgeted $366,000 for the construction of the fire house, which would put them $44,500 over budget. But, he told the council he was working with White River to get some grants to cover the difference.
The only thing being left out of the original plans for the fire house will be the generator, which would cost approximately $22,500. Norwood said he can apply for a grant for that as well. "If we are going to do it, I think we should go ahead and do it right," Councilman David Harris said.
The council brought it to a vote and unanimously decided to go ahead with construction. According to Norwood, once construction begins the projected time for completion is six to eight months.
The city has received numerous complaints concerning the condition of a yard located at 35 Crystal Drive. The damage to the yard was the result of the 2008 tornado.
According to Norwood, the city has sent the owner several letters as well as spoken with them over the phone. After being advised by Highland City Attorney, Jon Abele, about their options, the council decided to ask the property owner to attend the next council meeting.
Norwood informed the council of the city's status since the ice storm. He said they had opened a dump site and as of Feb. 17 they had accepted 103 truck loads of debris.
Norwood said there is a burn ban in Highland. He explained that until FEMA comes to assess the damage the city cannot dispose of the debris. The city is working on a contract with IESI for help picking up the debris; the contract will be for $16 per ton.
Norwood also issued the following statement: The properties in Highland are presently overrun with limbs, brush and tree debris from the ice storm. We have requested that the home owners place these materials, from their property, on the street for pickup.
"Any cleanup by contractors must be carried to the burn site at the contractor's expense. We will not begin pickup until after FEMA comes to assess the damage.
"They will survey the entire city and make a determination on payment to the city for this service. At this point we will have to follow federal guidelines on contracting for pickup.
"We understand your desire to get rid of all of this from our yards and streets, but we must wait on others. The city does not have the employees or the money to clean this up without the financial help. Please bear with us during this time. Thank you."