St. Paul increases sales tax for new fire station

Rendering of proposed new fire station to be built in St. Paul after voters in the city...
Rendering of proposed new fire station to be built in St. Paul after voters in the city increased the sales tax to fund it.(St. Paul Volunteer Fire Dept.)
Published: Nov. 9, 2022 at 5:24 PM CST
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ST. PAUL, Neb. (KSNB) - It’s good news for the St. Paul Volunteer Fire Department as they passed a major hurdle in getting a new fire station.

St. Paul voters approved a 1/2 cent sales tax increase with nearly 800 votes cast on this ballot issue.

Unofficial results reveal 535 people have voted for it and 259 against.

“It makes me happy as the fire chief,” said St. Paul Volunteer Fire Chief Mike Becker. “It means we are appreciated by the city and the folks that live in the town. They want to see us progress as well as a department also.”

Becker says the current building was built in the 1960s and at the time fit the needs of the department, but that has since changed.

Right now, it only has a three-bay garage holding ten vehicles. This poses challenges to access proper equipment when they are called out.

Becker added that the fire trucks and equipment are larger today and they just don’t have the space for them in the current facility.

He said since the tax passed, they will have to wait 90 days for the tax to take effect and then they can start laying the groundwork to build the new station.

The proposed project costs $1.95 million.

They have been working the last three months getting contractors lined up so they they will commit to that price range.

“We’re at a good place right now,” he said.

Becker adds that this has been something they have been working on for a few years but COVID did slow the process down.

They have been having meetings with city council, county board and the fire board to make sure that all the entities knew what was going on and an informed decision was made.

Becker thanked all the voters who supported the increase and all those who came out to the open houses to learn what the fire department is all about and this need they have in the community.