The city of Sun Valley is gearing up to start the planning process for a new fire station.
The City Council held two meetings this week devoted to its proposed $5.95 million general fund budget and its proposed $1,562,204 capital budget for fiscal 2020, which begins Oct. 1.
The capital budget is separate from the general fund and will pay for a new fire engine pumper-tanker, a new police vehicle, an interior renovation to City Hall and other projects. This budget does not include roads and path projects funded with revenue from a 2017 bond measure.
At a meeting Tuesday morning, Fire Chief Taan Robrahn discussed the growing need to begin planning for a new fire station.
He said continued development in the northern part of the town is fueling the need, and the Sun Valley Fire Department wants to assess the necessary size of the new station and scout possible locations.
He cited the construction of the Sun Valley Resort’s dormitory project and the demolition of its former Moritz Community Hospital and nearby dormitory buildings, which frees up land for additional residential development and an expanded conference space in the Sun Valley Inn.
He said the company is also constructing new townhome-style buildings in the White Clouds development off Sun Valley Road. Events in Sun Valley draw thousands of attendees at a time.
“We’re seeing the population density increase on this side of the hill,” Robrahn said Tuesday morning. “These events are drawing between 6,000, 8,000 and 10,000 people. It is a future need.”
The proposed budget includes $25,000 for future fire station planning. Robrahn said the money will be spent determining the Fire Department’s requirements, goals, objectives, response times and other needs.
The site of the new station is also undetermined, though Robrahn said the Fire Department has done initial analysis on some locations and has been talking to property owners.
“We want to start with what our needs are,” Public Safety Director Walt Femling told the council.
Mayor Peter Hendricks said the planning would help determine good locations.
“It’s almost a needs analysis based on projected growth,” Hendricks said.
The proposed capital budget also includes $785,140 for a new fire engine pumper-tanker with a capacity to hold 2,500 gallons of water. Robrahn said the department is considering how to replace two of its engines. The pumper-tanker is a hybrid vehicle that carries water and serves the operational functions of a fire engine.
Buying one new vehicle to replace two existing pieces would mean the Fire Department would not have to keep one of its vehicles outdoors year-round because it doesn’t have enough space available in its storage bays.
The city’s capital budget also includes $57,000 to purchase a new patrol vehicle for the Police Department, and $99,000 to begin a major renovation project to the interior of City Hall.
The overall project is expected to cost an estimated $727,650 and be completed in phases. The city has cost estimates and design renderings for the project, which includes spending $460,128 to renovate 3,636 square feet of space in City Hall and devoting $267,522 to renovate 2,114 square feet of space at the Police Department.