Bibb County commissioners voted Tuesday to buy land for Fire Station 109, which would protect a fast-growing area around Bass Road in north Bibb County.
Commissioners authorized Chairman Sam Hart to buy the land, said to be about 5 acres, for $575,000.
The station is needed to protect the area and preserve the county’s strong fire insurance rating, said Commissioner Elmo Richardson, who represents the area. Richardson made the motion in committee to buy the land.
But first, an existing building needs to be removed, and the land needs to clear routine environmental checks, Richardson said. The site is on New Forsyth Road about midway between Wesleyan Drive and Bass Road, Richardson said.
“By the end of 2011, we should be occupying that building,” he said.
Commissioner Joe Allen, who was a firefighter for more than three decades, said the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department may get a three-bay, two-story fire station. Land behind the station also may provide an area for firefighter training.
Richardson said architects are still working on the building’s design. He expects construction to begin in February or March.
Separately, Bibb County commissioners:
— created an alcohol license for caterers based on codes in Clayton and Houston counties.
— discussed, but took no action on, an earlier request to let airplanes land on county-owned Lake Tobesofkee. County Attorney Virgil Adams said the county could face some liability. The lake is also used by fishermen, swimmers and those with personal watercraft. The issue will be discussed again in a future meeting.
— heard that the sheriff’s office is nearing full staffing, with a pipeline of candidates for deputies and a full slate of corrections officers. Sheriff Jerry Modena said the quality of candidates also has gone up.
The sheriff’s office has struggled to fill the positions, and officials have said low pay is hurting recruiting. Deputies start at $25,688 and corrections officers start at $23,129.60.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.