Lanexa fire station effort aided by county
An effort to build a fire/rescue station in the Lanexa area of New Kent County is moving forward thanks to donations. And now the county’s Board of Supervisors has kicked in some money to assist with the endeavor.
Supervisors voted during their March 8 meeting to appropriate $18,000 from the county’s capital fund balance and transfer $6,238 from the county’s general fund contingency account to help with construction and operation of Fire Station 4.
Fire Chief Tommy Hicks said the $18,000 is earmarked for staffing resources, equipment, and computer technology at the new station while the lesser amount goes toward operating costs from now until the end of the year.
Hicks, meanwhile, is conducting negotiations on a lease for the fire station’s temporary home — a half-acre lot on the north side of Route 60, next door to Jerry’s Auto Repair. That lease could be ready for supervisors’ approval during the board’s March 31 work session.
If all matters proceed on schedule, an ambulance and EMS technicians could be on site by mid-April and a fire truck stationed there by July 1, Hicks said.
Five new volunteers have stepped forward to help man the station, Hicks said, adding, “I think things are really looking good for us.”
Hicks told supervisors the New Kent County Citizens Coalition, homeowners associations in The Colonies and Chickahominy Shores, and Lanexa businesses with the assist of county fire/rescue and New Kent’s Economic Development Authority are spearheading a drive to raise the estimated $50,000 needed to build and outfit the station.
So far, $18,000 has been contributed and more than $15,000 of in-kind donations such as materials and labor have been received. A hot dog social a few weeks back raised $4,000 and last Sunday, a Brunswick stew sale added $3,000 to the total. More money-raising activities, including an auction and a golf tournament, are planned.
About $11,000 will be needed, Hicks said, to purchase a 40×50-foot metal building to house a fire truck and ambulance. An existing house on the site is slated for use as a base for fire/EMS workers.
Back in October when the effort began to steamroll, some discussion surfaced on creating a special tax district in Lanexa to help foot the bill. County officials now say that option is off the table.
Hicks said 1,135 addresses fall into the Station 4 coverage area. Annually, more than 450 calls for fire/rescue service originate in the area. For now, response must come from stations in New Kent and James City County that are located at least eight miles away.
Having a station in Lanexa, Hicks said, could result in $258,000 in yearly savings on insurance premiums for those 1,135 addresses. That translates into about $189-$328 per household.
The lease, meanwhile, is expected to cover the next three years with option to renew for another two years. By then, county officials will be aiming at a permanent station site that will require 3.5-4 acres.