Work is continuing on the new fire station for the Factoryville Fire Company, but so too are its money challenges.
Company president Gerard Welby said the sidewalls of the 180 feet by 100 feet facility are now up, and contractors are putting on the roof.
“The sidewalls have to go up before the roof, because the roof locks onto the walls,” Welby explained.
The roof is expected to be in place and the building enclosed by New Year’s Eve.
The project has been on-going for the Factoryville Fire Company since 2011, and is expected to be completed in April.
The department decided it needed a new fire station because it had outgrown its existing headquarters. The existing facility is only 50 by 80 feet, while the new fire house will have almost twice the storage space. The new facility will also offer a great deal more parking space, making it much more convenient to hold training sessions, as well as for people wishing to rent the fire hall for meetings and social events.
But all this had not come without a price.
Cost of the project has been set at between $1.6 and $1.8 million. In order to obtain the money necessary to build the new facility, the department obtained a 40-year loan from Peoples State Bank, using investments as collateral.
The reason the loan had to be so long-term, Welby explained, is because it was the only way the department could pay it off without getting overwhelmed by the monthly payments.
“With a $2 million loan, you have to,” Welby explained.
Right now, he said, the department is now paying about $3,000 a month on the money it has used to complete the project to this point. Once the building is finished, Welby said, the department will be paying between $8,000 to $10,000 per month toward the loan.
And there’s more. Welby said he recently had to secure a separate loan for $150,000 to purchase a rescue truck, because the pumps on the one owned by the department are shot. It would have cost $40,000 to repair the pumps, he said, so it was decided to borrow the money to purchase a replacement vehicle.
“That was a loan we weren’t counting on.” he said.
If that wasn’t enough, Welby said he is looking into purchasing a replacement ambulance, which will probably cost about $100,000. Although this means even more money be paid out, Welby said they have no choice, because the existing ambulance is on its last legs.
Welby said the department has received large donations from a few people which have been very appreciated. These people wish to remain anonymous, he said, although the department also recently received a donation of $2,032 from the Trail Rotary Club, and as well as $1,768 from local Rotary District 7410.
“I think it’s great,” Welby said about the donations. “We’re using that money to buy two 70-inch flat screen TVs for training.”
The department is also using the money to purchase a 40-inch television to be used for it IaR system, which provides information to a person at the firehouse on who is heading to the building during an emergency response and their status. The IaR system will eliminate the need for a siren to alert firefighters to respond to a call.
“Everybody will be thrilled about that,” Welby said.
The department has a great challenge ahead of it, as it prepares to assume the full monthly costs of paying off the 40-year loan.
Asked if he had anything further to say at the end of the interview, Welby replied, “Send money, please.”
For those interested supporting to the Factoryville Fire Company, there’s still time to make a monetary donation which can be declared as a tax credit for 2016. Welby said that interested parties can send their donations to The Factoryville Fire Company Building Fund, P.O. Box 275, Factoryville PA 18419; or directly to People State Bank at 108 College Ave., Factoryville PA 18419.