The Firehall Millage Passed. What’s Next?

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Artist rendering of proposed fire station at the corner of Meadow View and Ann Arbor. Courtesy of Partners in Architecture from the Sept. 26 City Council meeting packet.

Dexter voters have approved money for new public safety facilities. So, what happens next?

City Manager Justin Breyer reported the bonding process to the council at its Nov 28 meeting. Breyers report can be found on page 129 of the meeting packet. A few significant highlights include the following:

  • The city will initiate the process through a Council Bond Resolution.
  • To collect the millage on the Jul 1 taxes, the city would have to issue bonds by Jun 30.
  • The bonding process has to begin in February to achieve a Jun 30 issuance.
  • The city has 3-years to spend the proceeds of the issued bond.
  • The city has to commit to spending at least 5% of the bond proceeds within six months of bonding.
  • There is no time requirement to issue bonds from the date voters approved it.

To begin the bonding process, the city must decide when it needs the money. To know that, the city must decide when to begin construction. To determine a groundbreaking, the city needs to decide what it will build at which of the two locations—the current fire station or the corner of Meadow View Ct and Ann Arbor St.

“I’d like us to spend some good council discussion time in January on the next steps, what we’re going to do and where we’re going to do it,” said Mayor Keough during the discussion. “Once we figure that out, we’ll get the architects working on it.”

Councilmember Michels urged the council not to delay. “We are not in the window anymore for a spring groundbreaking. We don’t have an idea of which site we’re going to build or what we’re going to build, which means the earliest we could break ground will be at the end of the summer.”

Michels projects construction to begin in 2024 and cautioned the council of cost escalation for fire stations being between five and twenty percent a year.

Councilmember Hubbard agreed that sooner is better. “We want to make that decision as quickly as possible.”

Hubbard also suggested a work session to bring new council members Dan Schlaaf and Joe Semifero up to speed on fire station plans and proceedings. The council is going to see if it can get the meeting in yet this month.

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