The plan to build a new fire station in Carthage

City officials in Carthage, Missouri say they’re working to fulfill a promise made to voters last year. City council members say that promise includes improving safety for both city firefighters and residents as a whole.

The idea of another fire station may not be anything new to some residents in Carthage. The notion has been talked about for years.

But the fire department and city officials say the time has come to act.

Both the need and funding for the solution is in better sight than ever before.

Firefighters and city officials in Carthage say things are moving in the right direction.

“It’s just an obvious step,” says Carthage councilman Ed Hardesty.

It’d be a step up from how emergency operations are now.

Eighteen firemen out of one fire station near the city’s downtown protect 150 square miles of both urban and rural land.

“That’s next to impossible to do, I wouldn’t attempt it and I was in the fire service in the northwest for 30 years,” says Hardesty.

“It’s time to grow and in order to grow we have to have our infrastructure in,” says Deputy Fire Chief Roger Williams. “One of those things is another fire station.”

Fire department officials are proposing building Fire Station Number 2 in the south part of town, an area that’s developed in the past 10 years and continues to grow.

The Carthage Fire Department responds to about 1,800 emergency calls each year.

“It seems like a large percentage of calls do come from us heading south and when you’re going south, you realize that had you been in a station at the other end of town you would probably already be there,” says Williams.

No exact piece of land has been bought or decided on yet. The proposal also includes hiring six new firefighters.

“Even it out – spread it out,” says Williams. “If you have a station out there with no one maning it you don’t really have anything.”

City officials are still ironing out costs of the entire project, which besides a new building, will include new firefighter equipment and three new trucks.

Council members say it’ll be expensive, but a new quarter of a cent fire safety tax passed by Carthage voters last year will cover the expenses.

“The Fire Safety Sales Tax generates about $400,000 a year – $450,000 a year,” says Hardesty.

The revenue will be budgeted and balanced to apply for a loan.

Dollars and cents aside, city officials promise talk with turn into action very soon.

Although city officials say they want to act soon, they also say they’re going to take the time to make wise decisions.

That process will include getting exact costs of the project.

But again, city officials are confident the city’s fire safety tax will cover these expenses.