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Stephens voted yes then no on $3M fire station contract

Fire Station 2 is under construction on Sugarloaf Road. Fire Station 2 is under construction on Sugarloaf Road.

The verbal combat between the usually mild-mannered mayor and Stephens, who is making his second run for city mayor, came during a Chamber of Commerce forum that focused on business issues. The forum triggered the most contentious volleys in the campaign so far as Stephens stepped up his attacks on Volk and the council for borrowing, spending and what he portrays as an anti-business climate.




May 2009: City Council reviews capital improvement requests for a new fire station scheduled in the 2010-11 budget year at a cost of $900,000.

Aug. 2, 2012: Council reviews a "decision matrix" showing pros and cons of renovating an existing metal building on the Sugarloaf Road site for $3.37 million or going with all new construction for $3.16 million. "After discussion, the Council agreed unanimously to move forward with plans for new construction," according to minutes from the meeting.

Dec. 6, 2012: The council votes unanimously to move forward with borrowing $6 million to buy a new fire truck, complete phase 3 of the Main Street makeover project and build the Sugarloaf fire station.

March 7, 2013: The council votes unanimously for a $6 million loan from BB&T (the only respondent to the city's bid request to seven banks) at 3.49 percent for up to 20 years.

April 4, 2013: The council votes unanimously to award the fire station contract to Cooper Construction Co. for $3,049,925. The vote came after discussion about a lower bid from Blue Ridge Enterprise of $3,022,000. The Blue Ridge bid was disqualified because the company failed to list subcontractors. Interim city manager Lee Galloway recommended that the City Council rebid the project. Tom Cooper of Cooper Construction objected. He said "it is not fair for their company, given their work and history, after their bid numbers are known, to go back and rebid," according to minutes. After a closed session to hear from the city attorney, the council came back into open session. The council voted unanimously to disqualify the Blue Ridge bid. In a separate motion, the council voted unanimously to award the bid to Cooper Construction.

April 18, 2013: During a special meeting, Mayor Barbara Volk asks for clarification of whether the council had awarded the bid to Cooper with alternates ($3,049,925) or without alternatives ($2,814,000). "Council Member Ron Stephens expressed concerns about the alternates," the minutes said. "Council Member Smith moved to amend the action of the City Council during the 04-04-13 regular meeting to accept the base bid for Fire Station #2 from Cooper Construction of $2,814,000 and the following alternates:
"1. for concrete parking in the amount of $23,510.
"2. For a fence/gate in the amount of $10,645
"3. Install composite Metal Panel Soffits at all S.I.F.S. Locations in the amount of $48,500, and
"4. Existing Metal Building Repair Work in the amount of $153,250 for a total bid (with all alternates) of $3,049,905. The vote was four in favor; one opposed (Stephens). Motion carried."

June 6, 2013: The council unanimously adopts a 2013-14 budget of $29,755,350 that includes the $6 million in borrowed funding for the fire station, fire truck and Main Street renovation.

Source: Hendersonville City Council minutes.


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