Austin seeks $38M bond to renovate fire, EMS stations

"We literally have been waiting for decades for some of these improvements," Austin Firefighters Association President Bob Nicks said

AUSTIN — A new bond proposal requests millions from taxpayers in renovations for city fire and EMS stations.

KXAN reported that Austin officials are requesting $38 million in taxpayer funds to cover the cost of renovating the city’s oldest fire and EMS stations. Proposition F would dole out $13 million towards updating fire stations and $25 million to improving EMS stations and services.

“We literally have been waiting for decades for some of these improvements,” Bob Nicks, Austin Firefighters Association president, said.

According to Nicks, many of the current facilities in use are detrimental to firefighters’ health.

“Firefighters live there a third of their lives. Some of the stations have gotten to the point where they are becoming dangerous structures as far as stability of walls and roof systems,” he said. “There is old roofing that needs to be replaced. There are holes in the driveway that continue to get worse as they drive over them.”

The funds would also go towards the cost of adding an additional four ambulances at the city’s four central EMS stations.

“Our call volume is expanding, and we haven’t added any additional resources,” Tony Marquardt, Austin-Travis County EMS Association president, said. “There are a number of things that we get asked to weigh in on in bond elections. I think a number of them are important, but few are as important as making sure that we’re keeping up with emergency services.”

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