The Bradley County Fire board reviewed the numbers and discussed options during a meeting Thursday.
Interim Fire Chief Troy Spence said 13 contractors had been interested in the project. Only two companies got their bid proposals in on time.
“There is some $300,000 between the two contractors, so its obvious one is lower,” Spence said.
One bid came in at about $800,000 per building. The other was for about $1 million per building. Previous discussions had estimated costs closer to $500,000. Board member and Commissioner Ed Elkins said the board had been under the impression the cost to the county would come in low enough to make up for higher costs than expected to buy the needed fire engines and tankers.
“I think the federal grant that we have secured is going to pay $1.2 million (total),” Spence said.
The stations will be patterned after the station on Tasso Lane, except the living quarters and office area will meet safe room standards for use by the community.
Spence said the numbers he presented had not been finalized because the companies were asked to revise some of the options in the proposals. Names of the companies were not released.
An itemized list of things that could be changed to reduce costs yet remain in the guidelines of the grant was discussed.
Specialized concrete that remains stable but allows water to run through it was originally suggested by the Bradley County stormwater department.
Spence said using this concrete would cost $280,000. He said money could be saved by using a different type of concrete.
Initially, bid proposals were due before Nov. 29. This date was extended because of the Thanksgiving holiday.
Spence said he would call another Fire Board meeting when new numbers are available. The Bradley County Finance Committee is scheduled to discuss the fire stations on Wednesday. Final numbers are expected to come in before that.
Elkins said he would have liked to see the Fire Board more involved in the bid process.
Also during the meeting, Spence presented information on purchasing gear for the new full-time firefighters being hired.
“We had a couple of people bid stuff that didn’t meet the specifications,” Spence said.
NAFECO was chosen by the department as having the safest equipment for the lowest price. Spence explained different companies use different technology in manufacturing the clothing for firefighters. The company chosen uses a process that keeps the clothing and coat from getting saturated as fast. The drier a firefighter’s equipment is while working a fire, the safer he is, according to Spence.
“Once it becomes saturated, it’s like taking a wet rag and picking up a skillet. Its going to burn you. A dry rag is not going to,” Spence said.
The equipment — clothing, coat, hat and other gear— was within the amount budgeted.
“Obviously, a lot of things are going on right now. We started 12 new people last Monday and the training itself has been moved to the training center,” Spence said.
He said this will cut down on distractions from what is going on in the fire station.