By Rusty Bradshaw
The Sun City Fire and medical Department will have a set schedule of fees for new construction projects in the community.
In the past, those fees were negotiated on a case-by-case basis. When a project came to the department for permitting, department officials would determine what was needed from the department in terms of fire and medical protection and a price was agreed upon by both parties, according to Jim Fox, Sun City fire marshal.
But the process was inconsistent and fire department officials wanted to establish a process in which all parties knew the fees up front.
“We don’t realize the revenue from this for several years until it shows up on the taxes,” Mr. Fox said. “That meant we were protecting all those properties without the revenue to do that.”
By establishing a use fee as a permanent structure within the department will improve the revenue issue, but more importantly make the fee process equal across the board, according to Mr. Fox.
In addition to fire and medical protection, the fees will address special circumstances, he added. As an example, Mr. Fox referenced a case when a water pump for the Banner Boswell Meeical center, 10401 W. Thunderbird Blvd., fire suppression system needed to be replaced, which reduced water pressure for about 18 hours.
“The reduced pressure would not have gotten water up as high as the top story, in the event there had been a fire during that time,” he said. “They needed some protection during that period.”
Fire district officials negotiated with hospital leaders for a price to have the department’s pumper hook up to the Boswell system until the pump was replaced. During that time, department officials had to use other resources if the pumper was needed on a call.
“With the fee structure, everyone knows up front what each service will cost, so there will be no need for negotiations,” Mr. Fox said.
New construction user fees will apply to both commercial and residential projects. The document also includes fees for such services performed outside the district boundaries.
September was a good month for the Sun City Fire District in terms of updating structures and equipment.
The district’s new fire station was completed and occupied during the month, and a dedication and open house was conducted Oct. 13. The district also received its new 75-foot ladder truck and one of three new engines ordered from Seffton, according to Ron Deadman, Sun City fire chief. The other two trucks are expected to be inspected and delivered in late October or November, he added.
“At the very latest we could see them in service in December,” Mr. Deadman said.
The fire department will also receive 12 new cardiac monitors through a regional grant that includes the Buckeye Valley Fire District and the Daisy Mountain Fire District. The latter district will receive 15 monitors each, according to Mr. Deadman. Sun City Fire District officials are administering the Federal Emergency Management Administration grant, he added. The districts will pay the $1.5 million cost to purchase the monitors then be reimbursed with the grant.
“Purchase of these monitors for us was planned to come from the bond funds (that financed the new fire station and equipment), but now that it’s being paid for by the grant we have about $400,000 in bond funds we can use for other capital costs,” Mr. Deadman explained.
District officials are waiting to be assigned a unique frequency before installing new microwave communication equipment to improve communication between facilities and new Internet equipment to solve buffering issues when streaming training videos and other items.
Station 133 will be full beginning Monday, Oct. 29 when Station 132, 11401 N. 99th Ave., crews move there for two weeks while the Station 132 apparatus bay concrete floors are replaced.