While Brown could not say when construction would begin, he said the Bartow County Fire Department would be able to staff the station once it was completed.
“The stations that we have to hold up on are when we have to hire new people. We don’t have the money to hire new people,” he said. “You know, Steve Taylor will be taking office and maybe he can find some money to hire new people and build it. But there should be some people already working at that station up there, so this could probably begin soon. It is something that we really need in place.”
The additional fire station is part of the county’s program to ensure every resident is within five miles of a fire station.
“Strategically, all of these new stations that we are locating .... [we’re] hoping to get everyone within a five-mile radius of a fire station,” said outgoing County Administrator Steve Bradley. “We haven’t accomplished that yet, but we have gone a long way in that direction.”
The purchase also includes an additional 1.33 acres of land to be used for a retention pond. The county, the seller and a nearby family will use the pond. The family will make a $10,000 contribution to the county for the pond’s construction.
After signing the agreement, Brown and Bradley thanked their staff for their many years of service.
“They made all this work,” Bradley said. “Our employees always made us look good. Clarence and I got a lot of pats on the back and well-wishes, particularly lately, but the employees and the staff deserve the lion’s share of the credit.”
Brown also thanked the citizens for the many years they placed their trust in him. One moment he said he always came back to was the first Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax initiative he put on the ballot — constructing a landfill.
“One major thing I want to thank the public for is trusting me. I mean they have to trust me ... When I put that on the ballot, I said, ‘How in the world am I ever going to explain I’m going to spend $10 million to dig a hole to put garbage in? How will I ever sell that to the public?’”
While Bradley has previously said he looks forward to spending his retirement with family, Brown said he did not have any retirement plans.
“I’m just ... I want to see what it feels like. If I get bored I might start thinking about something. Right now I’m just excited to see what it feels like. I’m going to miss the county, but I’m excited to see what it feels like to be retired,” he said.