The Chief Administrative Officer for the Rural Municipality of Hanover says residents of Blumenort are excited about the idea of a fire hall for that community.
About thirty residents showed up Wednesday evening for a public meeting to discuss the proposed hall. The plan is to build the hall along Penner Drive, south of Granny's. Hanover CAO LucLahaie says they are budgeting at least $2.6 million to purchase the land, construct the hall, order equipment and train firefighters.
According to Lahaie, fire protection is paid by all ratepayers in Hanover and so the cost to build the hall will not only be paid for by residents of Blumenort. However, he says there will be no mill rate increase.
"No property tax increase at all," says Lahaie.
In order to finance the project, Hanover would take $250,000 from their Fire Equipment Reserve and there would be a $2,425,000 general debenture of 20-year amortization to meet cash flow requirements, with an annual cost of $175,000. The municipality says the reduction in fees paid to Steinbach will offset the cost of financing the loan.
Further to that, Lahaie says because of the rising cost of fire protection from the City of Steinbach, after about ten years they should actually begin to notice cost savings. Hanover currently pays Steinbach about $265,000 per year for fire protection services. It is expected that Hanover's costs to Steinbach could rise to over $1 million in the next 25 years.
Hanover Fire Chief Paul Wiebe says though he would have liked to see greater attendance Wednesday, it was a positive meeting.
"But thirty is a great number to start, and just the fact that we didn't have any naysayers there," says Wiebe. "We tend to hear the negative before we hear the positive, so not hearing that, we're encouraged by that and feel that we're moving in the right direction."