CIP Discussion -- Pantops Fire Rescue Station




Staff’s Recommendation on Justification for the Pantops Fire Rescue Station




Tucker, Elliott, Foley, Eggleston






May 9, 2007


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Over the years, several studies, including the final version of the City/County consolidation study and draft recommendations of the Pantops Master Plan, have identified the need to build a fire rescue station in the Pantops development area. The justification to build this station is based on three primary goals:


1.    To support the County’s Land Use policy by providing a basic level of fire rescue services in the development areas.


2.    Position county fire rescue stations so as not to rely on the City for primary fire services after 2010.


3.    Achieve a higher quality of service currently not provided through the existing City/County Fire Services Agreement.


Funds to build the Pantops station have been programmed in the CIP and 5-year operational model with anticipation of ending the City/County fire service contract in 2010.


Recently, the Board raised questions regarding whether or not the Pantops fire rescue station is still needed based upon the assumption that East Rivanna VFD or Monticello Fire Rescue can cover the Pantops area once the City/County fire service contract ends in 2010.



Goal 1: Enhance the Quality of Life for All Albemarle County Residents



Staff has prepared the attached memo which outlines the need for the Pantops station based on the following key points:


1.       The City Fire’s current 10 minute response time to the Pantops area is not meeting our desired response time goal and trends show that the City response times are increasing.


2.       Response time analysis of East Rivanna VFD and Monticello FR indicate neither station can reach the Pantops area in less than 10 minutes.


3.       Due to growth and development in the area (population growth, growth in at-risk population, vehicle movement increases, development of residential/commercial/institutional facilities) calls for service are increasing.


Staff has developed an alternative approach to appropriately addressing short and long-term fire rescue service for the Pantops area as described below:


1.                 Establish a temporary station in Pantops in FY08/09 with a single staffed engine company.

2.                 Move forward with constructing a scaled down permanent station in the future and establish a partnership with East Rivanna VFD to assist with staffing the permanent station with volunteer personnel during evening hours.


Advantages of this Alternative


·         Improved level, quality, and timeliness of service to the Pantops development area


·         Deferred operational costs (not immediately hiring 12 FTEs for a Pantops ladder truck which defers approximately $720,000 annually)


·         Reduces reliance on City to meet primary response service to Pantops and perhaps transition existing Fire/Rescue agreement to a mutual aid agreement


·         Benefits and strengthens core County principle for delivery of Fire Rescue services through its volunteer agencies by relying on staffing assistance from East Rivanna VFD.


Disadvantages of this Alternative


·         Potential stranded costs associated with temporary facility




·         Approximately $90,000 in one-time costs associated with a temporary facility

·         Approximately $680,000 in operational cost for 12 FTEs.



Staff recommends the Board authorize the establishment of a temporary facility to house a single staffed engine company during FY08/09 & that a scaled-down permanent station be established in the future.


Attachment:  Fire Station Analysis

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