Council takes action on building

Published 2:21 pm Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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During their monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 5, the Drakes Branch Town Council voted to build a new municipal building along with the fire department.

Previously the council had looked at several options, including the possibility of purchasing the vacant First Citizens Bank building.

“Right now, we’re just trying to get a plan going,” said Vice Mayor Phillip Jackson during the meeting.
That plan will now be for the town to support paying half of the cost of a new building that is estimated to cost $700,000, which is a joint venture with the Drakes Branch Fire Department.
According to the Finance Committees recommendation, this amount includes any insurance money as well as grant funds.

Once the building is constructed, the town and the fire department will equally split the electric, phone and building’s insurance bills.

The insurance money that the town has or is receiving for damages from the flood last year will be equally halved between the town and fire department.

“If the town receives any grant money for the building, it will also be equally halved between the town and the fire department.” the recommendation cited.

The town will be responsible for paying for any repairs or replacements of items in the downstairs of the building. The fire department will be responsible for paying for any repairs or replacement of items in the upstairs of the building.

“We have always been in the building together and glad that we can continue,” said Drakes Branch Fire Chief Kenny Tharpe. “Thankfully land across the street that is out the flood zone has been donated, and hopefully soon we will have a building that the whole community will be proud of. Most importantly — all our trucks will be back in place.”

According to Tharpe, since last year’s flood, two fire trucks have been displaced, and part of the station is unusable.
“We appreciate the town’s vote of confidence in us. We are, after all their fire department,” added Tharpe. “We are only as good as the support behind us. Unfortunately, the county cut the fire departments funding this year by $5,000 at a terrible time for us. The local community has been overwhelming with their support since the flood, and we will always be grateful and strive to be a strong fire and rescue service to the community.”