- Associated Press - Monday, August 31, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Budget issues are delaying the construction of new fire stations in Bismarck and Mandan, although fire officials say growth in the neighboring cities will dictate their development in the near future.

A more centrally located fire station is needed in Bismarck so that response times in the northern part of the city meet national standards, according to Fire Chief Joel Boespflug.

“It would position (firefighters) better to reach the existing area and the area in the northeast in the process of growing,” he said.

A new fire hall would cost an estimated $3.6 million. The city instead will spend $1.7 million for three new fire engines and a practice facility, which commissioners said was a more immediate priority. The facility will be on the 5-acre site the city acquired this year for a future station. The city’s preliminary 2016 budget allocates $600,000 for land preparation, including gas, water, sewer and concrete, for both facilities.

City officials in Mandan cut plans for a $2.5 million fire station from that city’s proposed 2016 budget because there’s no money available to staff it, The Bismarck Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1hrjb2q ).

“If we can’t staff it, it doesn’t make sense that we build it,” City Finance Director Greg Welch said.

Growth in northwest Mandan, including a new middle school, warrants another station, said Fire Chief Steve Nardello, who also unsuccessfully requested a new fire hall in the 2014 and 2015 budgets.

“That’s where the school is. It is expanding for residential units out there,” he said. “We needed it a few years ago.”


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, https://www.bismarcktribune.com

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