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PrattTribune - Pratt, KS
  • Closure for fire station expected next month

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  • The saga of building a fire station in Sawyer is about to come to an end.
    The Kansas Department of Commerce has to approve the last few expenditures before they will give the final go-ahead to close out the project.
    The KDOC wants to have the matter completed no later than Jan. 15, 2014, said Pratt County Clerk Sherry Kruse.
    Linda Hunsicker, KDOC field representative, requested an audit of expenditures on the project back in February/March to verify that all the work and bills on the project would meet grant specifications.
    "They wanted to make sure the money was being spent correctly per the grant requirements," Kruse said.
    Pratt County paid for an outside agency to conduct the audit. That audit was completed in July.
    However, some bills were turned in after the audit was completed and that has delayed the final acceptance of the funding for the project, Kruse said.
    "We've been trying to get final expenditures together," she said.
    Some of those bills include some building materials, the final architects fees and the last payment to Ranson Financial Consultants. Getting the last few bills approved has caused frustration but those last few bills are now being process and that frustration should be coming to an end soon.
    Although this project is ending, the process will cover all of four years and parts of two more. The application process for the $300,000 grant actually started back in 2009, Kruse said.
    The KDOC approved the Community Development Block Grant for the Sawyer Rural Fire Department.
    Part of the grant requirements for the 60 by 120 foot building is that the project has to have a local match of volunteer labor.
    Pratt County Commissioners awarded bids for the project the first week in August 2010 with ground breaking on Aug. 20, 2010.
    When the county received bills for various parts of the project, the county requests grant money then cuts a check to cover the bill.
    County Commissioners worked with grant administrator Rose Mary Saunders from Ranson Financial Consultants out of Wichita.
    The building itself is complete but a portion of the concrete driveway connecting the building pad and the highway still needs to be poured.
    Once all the grant and audit requirements are met, Sawyer will have its new fire station located on the east side of K-61 highway on the north edge of Sawyer.
    It features truck bays, a mechanic bay, a wash bay, storage area, office, training room and restroom facilities.
    The Sawyer fire station will be the latest of the small third class towns in Pratt County to get a new fire station. Both Byers and Cullison also got new fire stations using grants but they worked with a different grant program. Those buildings were completed much quicker, Kruse said.

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