Waynesboro Council Vote Favors Stormwater Project over Fire Station
Waynesboro City Council has voted in favor of funding stormwater improvement projects over funding a West End fire station.
Five years ago, Waynesboro voters said they wanted to build a West End fire station but that project has been steadily falling down the priority list. Now, following Monday's city council vote to fund stormwater improvement projects, it is off the list entirely.
Despite the recession, Waynesboro has seen rapid business and residential growth on the West End. Plans called for a substation in that part of the city to cut fire response times that now sometimes approach seven or eight minutes. Waynesboro had eyed property on Lew Dewitt Boulevard for a roughly $2.5 million station.
But on Monday night, council voted to pull the rest of that project's funding from a 2007 bond issue and use it for stormwater projects. One city councilman says that's the wrong choice.
Councilman Mike Harris, on the losing end of a 4 to 1 vote, says the move sends the wrong message to citizens.
"We have a density out here that is building and businesses building. I just feel that it was a dangerous step for the democratic process to tell people that their vote didn't count," said Harris.
Harris says he does support the stormwater improvements, which also were part of the 2007 referendum that Waynesboro voters overwhelmingly approved.
Harris and Waynesboro Councilman Tim Williams both say a big benefit of the fire substation would have been the ability to house an additional rescue squad. Currently, rescue and fire calls on the West End get help from the nearby Preston Yancey Department.
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