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City approves bid for fire station

While discussing awarding the contract to the lowest bidder to construct the city’s newest fire station, submitted by a local builder, Councilor Larry Breland expressed concern about the company’s owner being a member of the city’s Planning Commission.

The bid discussed during Tuesday’s Picayune City Council meeting was submitted by Dennis Collier Construction, LLC, the owner of which, Dennis Collier, is on the city’s Planning Commission.

Breland’s concern was whether awarding the bid, which was the lowest at $508,309, would put the city in any type of legal risk.

City Attorney Nathan Farmer said that since the bid was submitted by Collier’s company, and not him personally, the city would be protected.

When asked if the process to build the station would require action from the Planning Commission, Code Enforcement Officer Tom Milar said that the only action the Commission would need to take has already been completed, which involved rezoning the land where the new station will be built to comply with city codes.

The bid comes in a bit more than was predicted a few months ago. According to previous coverage the project was estimated to cost about $420,000.

When complete, construction of the project will add a brand new 4,402 square-foot fire station to replace the one currently in use along Palestine Road next door to the Pearl River County SCPA.

Of the total square footage, 2,482 will be heated and cooled, with 1,261 reserved for the fire truck bay. The remaining square footage will be for porches.

Up to four firefighters can be housed in the station, and there will be a kitchen, 2.5 bathrooms, a dayroom and dining area. One of the rooms that could act as a firefighter bunk will initially be used as office space. Fire Chief Keith Brown said the fourth room was added to allow for departmental growth over the years.

The cost to build the station will initially be paid by the city, but will be reimbursed over the course of five years through fire insurance rebate funds, previous coverage states. That plan is contingent on rebate funds coming in as expected and fire trucks currently in use remaining functional.

During a vote to award the project to Dennis Collier Construction, LLC, all Councilors in attendance and Mayor Ed Pinero voted to award the bid to the local company, except for Breland. Councilor Wayne Gouguet was absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

There will not be another meeting of the Council until next year on Jan. 2, at 5 p.m. in City Hall.