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Ranchos to get fire station

by Merrie Leininger

By this time next summer, the residents of the Ranchos will have a brand-new fire station, that will also house paramedics in their district for the first time.

The station, which will be double the size of the current station, will sit across Mitch Drive from the current building. Last month, after months of discussion with the fire department, the Gardnerville Ranchos General Improvement District board members approached the county and offered an interlocal agreement.

In exchange for 2.25 acres of land that the GRGID donated to the fire department, the county will help the district master plan the rest of the surrounding 20 acres for future purposes such as a library and community center.

On Aug. 19, the fire commissioners approved the agreement. Wednesday night at the GRGID board meeting, Fire Chief Jim Reinhardt spoke to the board and members voted unanimously to accept the interlocal agreement.

The current station will be kept as a storage and training area.

Reinhardt said the site on Mitch Drive is ideal for responding effectively to fire and medical emergencies.

“When you look at the response areas and rest of the district, the Mitch Drive area is best for a station location,” Reinhardt said.

The station will house one paramedic team 24 hours a day, expanding the current EMT response from two teams working out of the paramedic district office on County Road.

Reinhardt said the paramedics previously worked out of Station 1 Douglas County Engine Co. until the calls for service grew so much the paramedics had to hire full-time drivers and their current housing was built three years ago. They have never been housed in the Ranchos before.

The new station will cost about $1 million, Reinhardt said, and the paramedic and fire districts are sharing the cost. Reinhardt said both have been saving up for this for a few years.

“We think we have enough in our reserves. It’s a nice thing that we don’t have to bond or borrow money,” he said.

The volunteer firefighters will be housed separate from the paramedics, Reinhardt said. Their sections of the building will be separated by the truck bays, which will open directly onto Mitch Drive. The volunteer side will also have a public meeting room that will accommodate up to 50 people, Reinhardt said.

“It will allow us to have voting inside without having to move the equipment outside into the weather. And it will be available to groups who would like to meet there,” he said.

Reinhardt said the district is taking great pains to fit into the neighborhood.

He said it will be single-story and surrounded by landscaping that will hopefully block much of the noise.

“We will be good neighbors,” he told the board.

The board unanimously gave the final approval on the water and sewer increases they previously agreed to. The water rate was last increased in 1988 and the sewer rates were last raised in 1990.

District Engineer Paul Lumos said the rate study his company did could only determine the new rates will cover costs for five years.

“This increase covers the five year period, past that, we can’t tell what the cost of power and maintenance will be,” he said.

Water rates will increase $1 per month for the next three years. Starting Oct. 1, home owners will pay $13 a month. Each year on Oct. 1, they will increase another dollar until residents have to pay $15 per month.

The sewer increases will also be phased in over the next two years. Those who were connected to the district’s sewer system prior to May 17, 1990, will pay $11 per month starting in October.

For those residents who were connected to the district’s sewer system after May 17, 1990, the rate will remain at $19 per month.