BOC to consider new fire station

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials may move forward on construction of Gwinnett's 30th fire station even though the firefighters to man the station were stripped from the county budget earlier this year.

On Tuesday, commissioners will consider a $2.16 million contract with CRS Building Corporation for the Loganville-area station.

The firefighters, leaders say, could be reincorporated in the county budget in March, when officials planned to make the 2009 spending plan permanent.

"We'll hire those people when the station is nearer completion," Chairman Charles Bannister said. "I feel fairly confident. Hopefully, we will not allow a station to be dormant once it's put into operation."

For the first time in recent history, commissioners adopted an "interim budget" in January, because results of a countywide service study spurred by the downturn in the economy were not complete. The spending plan included only a few changes from the 2008 budget, stripped down from Bannister's original proposal to hire more firefighters and police officers as officials tried to trim the county's use of a rainy day fund.

Commissioners are expected to consider a final plan in March, but Bannister said the fire station was promised as part of the county's 2005 sales tax program.

"We're going to try to fulfill our promises," he said. "We're just scratching for dollars and doing what we can to make it work."

Commissioner Mike Beaudreau, who represents the area, said residents are anxious to see the station in service.

"My intention is to push for those firefighter positions in March," he said, adding that the construction timing is critical. "We can't afford to wait six months."

SideBar: If you go

What: Board of Commissioners meeting

When: 10 a.m. work session, 2 p.m. business session Tuesday

Where: Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, 75 Langley Drive, Lawrenceville