County about to break ground on new FD, ambulance substation
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

May 9, 2006 -- Hopkins County is just days away from breaking ground on a facility that will house the county fire department, a substation for Hopkins County Memorial Hospital's Emergency Medical Services, and TRAX bus operations.

The project, initially estimated to cost a little more than $750,000, will end up with a much higher price tag — closer to $1.25 million — but county commissioners say they have found a way to cover the costs without impacting tax revenue.

"We have a $750,000 grant ... we are probably going to match that up with $500,000 in tax anticipation notes and there will be no increase in the ad valorem taxes at all," Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap said.

Tax anticipation notes are securities issued in anticipation of future tax collections

Millsap also said in the coming year the county will pay off $300,000 in other tax anticipation notes used to replace the roof at the county jail, freeing up money for the intermodal facility.

 The higher price tag for the facility, according to Millsap, can be attributed to increasing prices for construction materials. A similar increase in prices pushed cost estimates for the equine pavilion, now under construction at Hopkins County Regional Civic Center, considerably above the budgeted $750,000. 

Unlike the multi-modal facility, commissioners insisted that costs for the equine facility not exceed the estimates from two years ago, even though that project will be paid for with increased revenues from the Civic Center and the portion of the city's hotel occupancy tax ear-marked for the Civic Center.

The fire and rescue center, to be located just south of Interstate 30 on Texas Street, will improve the ability of the county's first responders to serve residents and enhance economic development by better serving the needs of an 820 square mile area.

"We would like to have a close relationship with fire and rescue inside the city so we could help the city in any kind of emergency situation," Millsap added.

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