Providing effective and efficient emergency services requires well-trained, adequately equipped, and appropriately located firefighters. The problem is our critical infrastructure is inadequate to provide essential services. Facilities, apparatus, and equipment are considered critical infrastructure that our firefighters need to fulfill their duties. In 2020, a community-driven strategic planning process was completed to identify our strategic initiatives, critical issues, and a 10-year capital improvement plan. Proposition Fire is presented to the community to address serious issues of our facilities, apparatus, and staffing.
“Shall the Ozark Fire Protection District issue its general obligation bonds in the amount of Twelve Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($12,500,000) for the purpose of acquiring real property, constructing, renovating, improving, equipping and furnishing fire stations, a training center, and related facilities, purchasing, replacing or repairing vehicles, emergency rescue and medical equipment, fire protection and firefighting apparatus and auxiliary equipment, and refunding outstanding lease obligations of the District?”
Station #1 and Administration
Station #4 (Replace Station #3)
Replace Two (2) 2011 Pumping Apparatus
Station #2 Lease Obligations
Fire Station #1 houses a crew of four (4) firefighters, a battalion chief, and administrative staff. It was built in 1983 and is in a flood zone with a history of serious flooding requiring repairs and remediation. It is located within a space that has limited access for training, expansion, and parking. It is does not provide adequate space for additional firefighters, administrative staff, or apparatus. The proposed solution is to relocate or rebuild Fire Station #1 that will alleviate flooding issues and provide for the adequate space for growth.
Fire Station #3 was built in 1990 when the District was served by volunteer firefighters and was not originally designed or constructed for full-time firefighters. In 2014, full-time staffing was added so that two (2) full time firefighters were always on duty. In January of 2021, firefighters had to be relocated to Station #1 out of concern for their health and safety from air quality and mold issues. The proposed solution will provide the necessary to add an additional station to provide for the health and safety and additional space for more firefighters and modern fire apparatus. We will also evaluate the feasibility of repairing, replacing, and maintaining the current Station #3 as a usable facility.
Training facilities are critical for firefighters to practice and prepare for emergencies. The Ozark Fire District does not have a training facility or the space to provide firefighters with the opportunities to enhance skills and proficiency. To meet the training requirements of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) or the Insurance Services Office (ISO), we are required to take our crews out-of-service so they can train in neighboring Districts, which includes Nixa, Battlefield, Logan-Rogersville, and Springfield. The Proposed solution is to build a training facility that is centrally located within the District. This will allow our crews to train together and with other public safety agencies.
Photo Courtesy of Central Crossing Fire Protection District
The explosive growth in Ozark requires the need for an aerial apparatus that can be used for rescue and fire extinguishment. Best practices and standards require a staffed aerial apparatus that responds to structure fires. Since we do not have one, we depend on the Nixa Fire Protection District, which causes a delay in for critical and live-saving resources. The aerial apparatus would become replace the 2000 Engine.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) a fire apparatus has a reliable service life of 20 years. We currently have two apparatus that are front-line units that were built in 2011. This proposition would provide the funds to replace these units within our 10-year capital replacement program.
Although funds from a General Obligation Bond cannot be used for staffing or operational cost, Proposition Fire will authorize the Ozark Fire District to refund outstanding lease obligations, which would enable operational funds to be used for additional firefighters.
Funds generated from this proposition will improve firefighter health & safety, strategically locate resources to decrease response times, and enhance staffing levels. This will enable us to reduce our Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating, which could reduce insurance premiums for businesses and homeowners.
To complete these critical projects and needed improvements, the Ozark Fire Protection District is placing a $12.5 million General Obligation Bond issue on the April 6, 2021 ballot. The District estimates the bond will enable repayment of the principle through a $0.17 tax levy.