Auburn's City Council voted unanimously at a special called meeting Nov. 20 to earmark up to $400,000 from its general fund toward the completion of the new fire station.

The city received a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the state's Department for Local Government in 2014 to renovate the old Howlett Chevrolet building on Main Street. However, due to problems with a previous architect, the project had been put on the back burner for months.

The city still has approximately $300,000 of the $500,000 grant.

Reasoning given for a new fire station, which the city and rural departments will share, is there is no room at the current station built 50 years ago. The current station is located on the square

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in Auburn. Parking for firefighters and maneuvering trucks around the square proves to be problematic.

Another hold up in the project involved finding more than one bidder to do the work. Unfortunately, the city could not get more than one even after rebidding the project.

A pre-bid meeting was held Aug. 1, 2017, where one contractor showed up. On Aug. 11, the city council opened the one bid received, finding out the price was more than double what was left of the grant.

Amy Scott, grant administrator for the Barren River Area Development District (BRADD), suggested the city council reject the bid, reevaluate the bid documents, and rebid the project, which they did at the August council meeting.

At a Nov. 14, 2017, pre-bid meeting, more contractors attended. However, at the Nov. 21 bid opening only one bid came in and was from the same previous contractor who submitted Aug. 1.

At a special called meeting on Nov. 30, the city council accepted the bid from C&C Construction. Two of the seven ad alternates were removed, which included an additional restrooom and the electrical work in the expanded spaces.

The base bid came in at $565,325, with total bid with five ad alternates at $640,898.

C&C Construction built the Auburn Senior Center.

The contract calls for a four month completion date from the starting date.

"We do have the money," said Becka Cox, Auburn City Clerk. "We are not going to have to borrow this money."

As of November 2017 the balance in Auburn's General Fund is $812,000.

"The firemen did a lot of in-kind service to prep the building before any of the grant monies or contract work began," said Cox. "They prepared the inside of the building for the renovations. City employees also worked on the project."

According to Auburn Mayor Mike Hughes, when all expenditures are calculated it comes to $108 per square foot.

Total estimated project cost of the new fire station is just shy of $1 million dollars.

"We need to go ahead and wrap this project up," said Auburn Mayor Hughes. "We did our due diligence to try and get more than one bid, unfortunately, there are a lot of projects going on right now."

The old fire department will become a municipal maintenance building.