The land for both new North Hall fire stations — the relocation of Station 3 and new Station 16 — have been secured by the county, and construction bids are open.
Scott Gibbs, District 3 representative for the Hall County Board of Commissioners, said bids are due Tuesday.
And the sooner the stations open, the sooner North Hall homeowners will see relief from huge increases in insurance premiums.
“I’m pretty sure it’s an instant thing,” Gibbs said.
Hall County Fire Chief David Kimbrell said once the stations are built, the county will request that properties be re-evaluated by the Insurance Service Office.
“The fire stations are not under construction yet, so the ISO will not recognize them until they’re constructed, staffed and open, then we’ll have to request (ISO) to come back in to do an evaluation. So we’re still looking at nine months to a year before those people will see that insurance savings from the fire stations,” he said.
To have well-rated fire safety in ISO’s eye, there has to be a fire station within 5 road miles and hydrant access within 1,000 feet, according to Kimbrell.
Gibbs said the opening date could be earlier than previously anticipated.
“I’ve talked to Ken Rearden, director of Public Works, and they have told all the contractors that their intention is to have the stations ready to open Jan. 1,” he said.
Estimates had put the stations’ opening in the spring.
“That’s sooner than I was expecting. I was kind (of) thinking March or April, so I’d be thrilled with Jan. 1,” Gibbs said.
The commission also approved funding the staff for a new station — firefighters in the county right now are staffing stations with no personnel to spare.
“As far as hiring folks, they will have to go to training classes,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said the old Station 3, a more-than-40-year-old building originally meant to be temporary, will be closed and surplused by the county.
The next action on the new stations by the commissioners should come at the end of July or beginning of August, Gibbs said, when they will award the bid to a contractor.