Violet Township officials are considering updates to Fire Station 592 on Refugee Road that could mark the first major renovations since it opened 24 years ago.

Station 592, 8700 Refugee Road, was built in 1996 and put in service in 1997. It has been the administrative headquarters for the fire division which operates three stations.

In addition to station 592, other stations station 591, 21 Lockville Road, Station 593, 2365 Taylor Park Drive.

Violet Township Fire Chief Mike Little said station 592, which was constructed for $1.8 million, has not had any significant renovations since its opening and it is showing its age, primarily related to its heating, cooling and ventilation system.

"There are some problems with the HVAC system," Little said. "It has multiple furnaces for the building and it's 24 years old.

"When something needs to be fixed or replaced on it, it's getting more difficult to find parts."

On Jan. 31, township officials issued a request for qualifications to solicit bids from architects who would evaluate Station 592 and design upgrades.

Those bids are not expected to be received until Monday, Feb. 17, at the earliest, but officials said they are planning for a renovation project at the station that, including design and construction costs, would be approximately $2 million.

"I would hope the work will begin before mid-2020 and be done within six to nine months, maximum," Little said.

Board of trustees chairman Terry Dunlap said the HVAC system at the station is "antiquated," but noted officials would not know the scope of the project until an architect reviews the facility and designs upgrades.

From there, the township will solicit bids from contractors to perform the renovations, which also could include the replacement of the building's roof and a renovated kitchen.

"There's money in the fire department's budget, but we don't know yet when the project would take place," Dunlap said. "It depends on how long it takes to get an architect on board.

"Then we'll have to look at the scope of the work and price and things like that."

Little said in addition to the age of the roof, he expects it would be impacted by installation of a new HVAC system and he believes it would make sense to tackle both projects at the same time.

Additionally, he said the kitchen cabinets are old and need upgraded.

"The building itself is 24 years old now," Little said. "Nothing has ever been updated or changed.

"To get the building where we need to for another 20 to 25 years or so of use, there are just some things we need to do."

Depending on how much it would cost, Little said he is interested in adding garage space at Station 592, so several fire-service vehicles parked outside could be brought under roof.

They include the department's fire prevention vehicle, a vehicle for the Emergency Medical Services coordinator, a medic unit and a station truck.

"They're general, everyday-use vehicles, and they're outside now," he said. "It could prolong the lives of those vehicles to get them inside and out of the weather."

The fire department primarily is funded by Violet Township property taxes, and money for the renovations would come from the fire department's budget, as opposed to the township's operating fund.

"Taxes are paid in February and July each year," Little said. "This means the fire department does not get the first draw of funds until late March or early April every year.

"Because of this delay, we need 'carryover' money to get through the first three months of the year. Carryover money is derived from the unspent funds at the end of the year."

Little said the department's operating budget for 2020 is approximately $13.6 million.

The department's 2020 estimated revenue is approximately $17.4 million, which includes $11.5 million in property taxes, $800,000 in fees for ambulance runs and a $5.1 million estimated carryover.

"As we spend throughout the year, our carryover amount can be higher or lower in to the following year," Little said.

"As an example, if we spend our total budgeted funds in 2020, our carryover will be around $3.8 million going into 2021.

"Our department needs at least $3 million of carryover each year, on average, as we spend $1 million per month.

"In the operating budget, there is a 'Transfer Out' line. The money on this line is moved to other accounts -- Wage Stabilization, Bond Retirement or Capital. This is the money that has been 'saved' by the department for other expenses.

"This is how we have saved money in the Capital Fund for this project."

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