USDA State Director and staff
presenting check to RFD #2 and FCCI
for Crawford County RFD Fire Station
Presentation was made at the
Franklin Community Center & Heritage Museum
located one block east of proposed Fire Station
RFD #2
Fire Station

FCCI (Franklin Community Council, Inc.) has been looking forward to the new fire station that was planned for our community.  Unfortunately as the project was ready to go out for bids plans were changed and the station was moved to Arma.   The council worked very hard to make this a viable project that would benefit all of Crawford County and are disappointed that it will be moved to another location.   Following are articles that have appeared in the Pittsburg Morning Sun that relate to the events leading up to this project.     This project began as far back as 2005.   As those earlier articles relating to the reasoning of placing the station in Franklin are located they will be placed on this website.

When FCCI learned that the project was going to be potentially moved to Arma an ad was placed in the Morning Sun in May, 2009 to state the facts as we know them.  Many rumors were swirling and we wanted to be sure that everyone would know where we stood on the issue.

August:  Photos Taken at Franklin Site for  Environmental Study
April 6:  Fire District Member Discusses Building

April 18:  Fire Station Officially Gets Funding

September 13:  County Board Nods to New Tanker

October 22:  Board Approves Zoning Request for CCFD 2

April 3:  Industrial Park Cound Add Fire Station

April 22:  Fire District Mulling Change in Plans

April 26:  RFD No. 2 HOsts Meeting to Explain Plans

April 27:  Schook:  Fire District Issue Not 'Easy Situation'

April 29: 
Who Does Linda Grilz Represent Anyway?

May:  Paid ad by FCCI

May 16:  County Commission Discusses RFD No. 2

May 30:  County Creats Building Commission

June 16:  Arma Rejects Proposed Changes to FIre District Agreement

June 20:  Letter to the Editor: Rural Fire District No. 2

June 23:  RFD No. 2, Arma Get Green Light for Station

Fire District member discusses building
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 06, 2008 @ 12:18 AM
Fire District No. 2 board member Larry VanBecelaere said that the project to build a new substation in Franklin is ready for bid during the Crawford County Commission’s regular meeting on Friday.
“We’ve got the prints and the bids are ready to go out,” VanBecelaere said.
There have been issues regarding the cost of the project and whether the district can afford the loan payment from its current budget.
Early architect projections valued the project at $730,000. With $50,000 being paid by a grant from the USDA Rural Development department, that leaves the remainder to be paid in the form of a low-interest loan from Rural Development.
If the cost holds true, the estimated payment for the district would be close to $40,000 per year and the questions have arisen over whether the current $90,000 fire district budget can sustain that much of a payment.
“We really don’t know how much it will all cost until we get the bids,” VanBecelaere said. “That cost could go down.”
In addition, he said that there will be a storm shelter constructed at the substation as part of the project.
“We are going to build a building that fits our budget and not the other way around,” VanBecelaere said.
On Tuesday, residents of the Washington Township asked County Commissioners about the prospect of a special assessment being levied against residents in the fire district to pay for the building.
VanBecelaere dismissed that possibility on Friday.
“That is an old political trick in Arma that if you don’t want something you go down to the local coffee shop and talk about how it will raise taxes and cause a special assessment,” VanBecelaere said.
He added that the fire district does have plans to present a plan for consolidation of Arcadia, Arma and Mulberry.
“They are wanting to try to consolidate and get people trained as firefighters because there are some that aren’t,” VanBecelaere said. “This is not like the old days where you could just throw water on something.”
But he said, as far as the actual building was concerned, it is being designed for potential needs of the district.
“We designed this building for the future and not just for what we may need right now,” VanBecelaere said.
Commissioners said that a decision on whether to build the new station was still some time off.
“We really won’t make a decision until we get that dollar figure,” said Commissioner Ralph McGeorge.

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Fire station officially gets funding
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 18, 2008 @ 01:32 AM
The proposed fire station in Franklin got a boost Thursday when the expected federal funding came through.
The USDA Rural Development awarded the Crawford County Commission $723,300 as part of the Community Facilities Program to build a new fire station for Crawford County Fire District No. 2 in Franklin. Part of the $723,300 will come in the form of a $50,000 grant, with the remaining $673,300 coming in a low-interest loan.
The announcement said the facility would include four bays holding two trucks each, training/meeting rooms and a storm shelter room available for the community.
Christie McReynolds, USDA Rural Development area specialist, said the reason the commission was awarded the money is because “they applied for it.”
In order to be eligible for the funds, McReynolds said there are several requirements.
“We look at the median household income, whether there is potential for repayment, if the project is an eligible project and if the area was an eligible rural area,” McReynolds said. “We still have plenty of funds left over, so it wasn’t that [Franklin] bumped someone else out.”
Following the eligibility requirements, the selection process takes place.
“After the underwriting, we make sure the project is sensible, modest in design and whether they can afford it,” McReynolds said. “To this date, we’ve had enough money to fund all projects, so there wasn’t an issue of competition. Being that this facility was for health and safety, it would have scored pretty well if there was a competitive field.”
The Crawford County Commission will meet this morning to determine the next steps in proceeding with the fire station.
There is a possibility that the construction of a fire station in Franklin will bring about a consolidation of Arma, Arcadia and Mulberry.
Mike McLeod, Arma fire chief, declined to comment until after today’s county commission meeting.
Arma Mayor Karl Wicker had no comment at this time on the effects on his city.
Crawford County Fire District No. 2’s service area includes the city of Mulberry and the townships of Lincoln and Washington. The area serves a total population of 5,059.
The announcement drew attention from legislators.
“Rural communities have always been a backbone of American society, and in today’s age, they face unique challenges and opportunities. The Rural Development Program is an important way for the federal government to help rural Kansas succeed,” U.S. Rep. Nancy Boyda, D-Kan., said in a press release.
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County Board nods to new tanker
The Morning Sun
Posted Sep 13, 2008 @ 12:25 AM
Crawford County Rural Fire District No. 2 requested approval Friday from the Board of Commissioners to purchase a new tanker truck to complete the upgrade of its fleet of firefighting vehicles.
District 2 member Larry VanBecelaere told commissioners they've crunched the numbers in the annual budget and will be able to cover the annual payments on the almost $159.000 truck. The tanker they're looking to replace was built in the 1970s, VanBecelaere said.
"This is the last truck in our fleet that's a 70s model," VanBecelaere said. "All the rest of the trucks in our fleet have been updated. This should be the last truck we need to replace for a while."
The current tanker is a 1977 model, gasoline-powered truck, and "it didn't hold up," VanBecelaere said. "The tanks been leaking for years and, as a matter of fact, it's left me walking a couple of times."
Fire District 2 covers the rural areas around Arma in northeast Crawford County.
VanBecelaere and fellow firefighter Kenny Yoakum said the fire district sent out requests for bids to three companies. One declined to submit a bid and a second provided a base price for a chassis only, with the tank, pumps and various other equipment priced out as "add-ons," they said.
"This is the most affordable truck we could find," VanBecelaere said. "It has everything we need."
One thing that could throw a wrench in the proposal was the financing options suggested by the company, which wasn't named at the meeting. The company offered financing with an annual payment of about $25,000. The fire district anticipates about a $45,000 surplus in its annual budget at the end of the year, which could be used as a down payment on the new truck. That would leave the district to finance about $115,000.
VanBecelaere said it would probably be easier for the fire district to meet the payment schedule if the annual payments were closer to the $15,000 per year mark. Jim Emerson, county counselor for the board, suggested the county might be able to get a better financing rate, with lower interest and a longer term, if it sent the financing proposal out for bids.
The board unanimously approved the fire district request and authorized Chairman Bob Kmiec to sign the purchase contract and for Counselor Emerson to prepare funding specifications to send out for bid.
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Board approves zoning request for CCFD 2
The Morning Sun; Posted Oct 22, 2008 @ 12:17 AM
The Crawford County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use zoning request, clearing the way for construction of a new fire station in Franklin for Crawford County Fire District No. 2.
Judy Freeman, county zoning administrator, presented the recommendation from the county's Planning and Zoning Board to approve the request on Friday. Larry Van Becelaere, representing the fire district, was also at the meeting to answer questions from the board.
Freeman said final approval by the Planning and Zoning Board had been delayed by minor concerns with the initial site plan for the fire station. Among those concerns were identifying where electrical and telephone line would be and identifying what type of surface would be installed around the building.
Once all the questions were answered, the plans were approved with no opposition, Freeman said. There was also some concern about the width of streets giving access to the station, located at the intersection of 7th and Vine streets in Franklin. But those concerns didn't warrant delaying approval, she said.
“I think, once the station gets built, the (fire) district may come back and talk to you as the governing body about the need” to widen those streets, Freeman said.
Commissioner Tom Moody asked if core samples had been taken of the ground at the construction site. Van Becelaere said samples hadn't been done yet, because he wanted to wait for approval from the board.
“I told (Planning and Zoning) it would be drilled and tested after I got permission to build,” Van Becelaere said. “I wasn't going to spend the tax payers money to drill if we weren't going to get permission to build.”
Plans call for two waste water storage tanks at the building, one to hold water run-off from washing of trucks and the second to serve the kitchen and toilets. Both will have a water-level indicator to let operators know when they're full and need to be pumped out and the waste water hauled away. Once a proposed Franklin sewer district is in operation, the station will be added on to that sanitary sewer system, Freeman said.
The plans also include a hardened-concrete storm shelter capable of holding 250 people or more, including an emergency communications center, she said. Van Becelaere said later the fire district hasn't been pushing as hard as it could to begin construction on the fire station, waiting for the county's emergency management action plan to be approved by the state. Having the plan in place will make the fire district eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funding to help cover the cost of the storm shelter, Van Becelaere said.
The local disaster plan has been submitted to the state. Fire district staff is working on the application for the FEMA funding, so it will be ready to send off once the county's plan is approved, he said.
On a motion by Moody, seconded by Ralph McGeorge, the board unanimously approved the conditional use permit request. Van Becelaere said construction probably couldn't realistically be expected to start before next spring, given the wait for FEMA funding approval as well as the time it will take to secure bids for the project.

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Industrial park could add fire station
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 03, 2009 @ 12:20 AM
The city of Arma and the Crawford County Rural Fire District No. 2 are working on a deal that could lead to a fire station being built in Arma’s industrial park.
During a special meeting of the Arma City Council on Thursday, both parties discussed a potential partnership in which the city of Arma would help the RFD pay for the new station.
No official agreement was made – specific details may be presented and approved next month – but the council did express its support for the project. The next step involves the RFD board and Arma City Administrator Tim Schook putting on paper the specifics of the proposal. Once an official agreement is made, the council must vote to approve it.
“I feel confident that we’ll come to terms on this,” Schook said.
A partnership between the two entities would not mean consolidation. Arma officials stressed that it is important for the two to maintain distinct identities. Councilman Ron McKee said he is proud, as an Arma resident, to have a city fire department and he wants it to remain.
What the partnership would do, however, is help the RFD offset some annual expenses, the largest being the mortgage payment for the new facility. Schook said a tentative plan could have the city paying 25 percent of the loan payment, but that also was just a suggestion, not a final decision.
Representatives of the RFD said at the meeting they estimate the monthly payment being approximately $3,000. That number could change, however, depending on the final cost of the project.
“We need to move forward on the building,” Schook said. “I have no problem sharing cost with the Rural Fire District No. 2.”
Schook said he typically would not support placing a non-taxpaying entity in the industrial park, as that area should be used to bring jobs and tax revenue to the city. However, because of another project the city is working on, placing a fire station there would make sense, he said.
Across the street from the industrial park, to the north, sits more than 33 acres of land the city of Arma now owns. The city plans to turn that open land into residential neighborhoods.
“Having a fire department sitting right by that new development would be important and to our benefit,” Schook said.
Councilman Jeff Locke said that area could become the “center of the city,” should the proposed expansion of U.S. 69 ever come to fruition. He said that’s another reason having a fire station in the industrial park would be beneficial.

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Fire district mulling change in plans
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 22, 2009 @ 02:10 AM
Building a new home is hard for anybody, but especially for Rural Fire District No. 2.
Representatives of RFD No. 2 told the Crawford County Commission that plans have been changing lately, causing delays on a proposed fire station in Franklin.
“In March, we re-examined the building site in Franklin. We had heard a lot from the public about whether that was the right situation,” said Kenny Yoakum, vice president of the RFD No. 2 board. “We wanted to work well with Arma leaders. After discussing it over with them, we felt the separation of the two departments [Arma Fire Department and RFD No. 2] is not in the best interest of either group.”
Plans for a building are being tweaked by the RFD No. 2 architect, but plans for a site may be more of a pressing matter.
For a variety of reasons, the RFD wanted to build a new fire station. The first proposed location was in Arma. However, Arma leaders said they did not want to foot the entire bill for the fire station, in case something would have happened that would jeopardize the ability to pay off the fire station.
So the RFD sought funding elsewhere, receiving help from Craig Stokes, Franklin, to write a grant proposal to USDA Rural Development. That money was awarded in the form of a $50,000 grant and $673,300 to come in the form of a low-interest loan.
“Four to five years ago, we were offered a site by the city of Arma,” Yoakum said. “It never was that the city didn’t come together to talk with us. They just didn’t want to finance the whole project. They didn’t want to be stuck with a big building they didn’t need. So we sought other means through Mr. Stokes. We thought it was in everyone’s best interest to go back to Arma and see if something could happen.”
Plans for the fire station, as noted in a Morning Sun article on April 18, 2008, include four bays holding two trucks each, training/meeting rooms and a storm shelter room for the community.
Yoakum said Arma is closing in on a site in the Arma industrial park as a potential location for the fire station. The Franklin site, already purchased, would then be used for a training ground.
The reason for the switch in locations is based on several issues. First of all, although Franklin is working on water and sewer issues, those may not be in place by the time the proposed fire station would be ready. An Arma location has both water and sewer ready.
More importantly is the issue of access and logistics. Yoakum said one issue is that of personnel.
“Most of our firefighters serve both departments, Arma and RFD No. 2,” Yoakum said. “It would be ridiculous to put a station in Arma and a station in Franklin. In that case, we would either have to go to Arma and get our gear or trucks or we’d have to go to Franklin for the same thing.”
The proposed new location would be rather centrally located, allowing easy access to Highway 69 or to wider streets.
“We have big fire trucks, and there are some narrow streets in Frankin. We don’t gain or lose anything by a different site. We have better access and street access. We would have acceptable water and sewer. It’s a very good site. Common sense would say that would be the better idea. We’re not splitting up the departments, so we won’t have two locations, two sets of equipment, and so on.”
RFD members will sit down with Arma City Administrator Tim Schook to iron out some of the details next week.
Crawford County Commissioners were not pleased about the delay.
Commissioner Linda Grilz suggested that with the delays, the building could not see a start until the fall. She was also upset about the fact that the RFD had not communicated with the citizens of Franklin about the change in plans.
Commissioner Ralph McGeorge echoed those sentiments.
“The issue is that people in Franklin are going to read in the paper tomorrow that this is a done deal,” McGeorge said. “As far as they are concerned, the site is still in Franklin. I don’t think they should hear it from the paper rather than from the board.”
After a request from the commission, the RFD has set up a meeting at the current RFD No. 2 location at 1 p.m. on Saturday for any members of Franklin or any other community to come out and hear the plans and the changes being made.
Arma fire chief Mike McLeod noted that the situation is trickier than most people think.
“People think this is just free money,” McLeod said. “It’s the county that has to pay it back. Our biggest concern is saving money.”
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RFD No. 2 hosts meeting to explain plans
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 26, 2009 @ 02:03 AM
For two years the Franklin Community Council, Inc., worked with Rural Fire District No. 2 to help obtain funding and purchase land in Franklin for a new fire station.
Recently rumors began to circulate that the station might not be located in Franklin after all, but in the Arma Industrial Park. Those rumors were largely confirmed during an informational meeting Saturday at the current RFD No. 2 station in Arma.
Funds for the project were obtained in April 2008, building plans are nearly complete and bids would have been sought in the near future. A change in location would mean a delay in the project.
“The main reason for the change is staffing of the guys and their personal protection equipment,” said Kenny Yoakum, vice president of the RFD No. 2 board. “The Arma Fire Department and the RFD No. 2 Department are staffed by the same people.”
He said it would not be wise to divide the departments, with stations at both Franklin and Arma. In that case, firefighters would have to go to one station or the other to get their equipment in case of fire.
“It would be so much better to have all the equipment in one place,” Yoakum said.
The district had originally approached the City of Arma about helping the district to build a new station, which the district would have on a lease-purchase agreement.
“The city was not real hospitable to that option,” Yoakum said.
After that, the Franklin Community Council offered to help, and Craig Stokes, FCCI chairman, worked to help obtain funding for the new rural station and also helped the district purchase a site for only the property’s tax evaluation.
But Yoakum said that the district board began to have doubts. "At our March meeting, we looked at the Franklin site again," he said. "We looked at all aspects, and we decided to go back to Arma. This time we were met by open arms."
The city agreed to a site in the Arma Industrial Park. Also, the City of Arma has always paid utilities at the current RFD No. 2 station at the Arma City Hall.
“If we go to Franklin, we’ll have to absorb the utilities within the district budget,” Yoakum said. “Those utilities run around $1,200 to $1,500 per month.”
"And all of this just occurred to you recently?" asked Linda Grilz, Crawford County Commissioner, who attended the Saturday meeting. "When you applied for the low-interest loan, you knew all that."
She also noted that the change in location would mean that a new environmental study would have to be done, and that the district had not discussed its doubts with the Franklin group.
"The biggest issue that causes problems is communication -- people not talking to each other," Grilz said.
Yoakum conceded that point. "In hindsight, we should have," he said. "Hindsight is perfect."
"Nothing has changed," said Phyllis Bitner, Arma. "You've had two years for the light bulb to click."
"We hoped the station would bridge a gap between our two communities," said Dianna Morrison, FCCI member. "We hoped it would be a bridge between the two of us for a better tomorrow."
“Nobody in here knows how many hours I spent on this,” said Craig Stokes. He noted that the Franklin site purchased by the district had not been for sale before he approached the property owners.
“I expect you to write a sincere apology to them,” Stokes said. “The way this situation was handled is not right.”
Yoakum said that new plans call for the Franklin site to be used as a training ground, open to all fire fighters in Crawford County.
He said the district will review the change in plans at the Arma City Council meeting in May. "If they can work with it, then that's it," Yoakum said. "The decision will be to put the station in the Arma Industrial Park.
"Then this meeting was a ruse, because your minds are already made up," Bitner said.
“I didn’t want to wait until the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new station to wonder if it was the best idea,” Yoakum said. “We are charged to use the money bestowed on us as effectively as possible.”
Grilz said that the USDA check is made payable to the Crawford County Commission, not the district. “The county is on the hook for this whole thing,” she said. “I’m going to ask you to come to the County Commission each month to give us a status report on this.”

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Schook: Fire district issue not 'easy situation'
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 27, 2009 @ 11:44 PM

Arma City Administrator Tim Schook understands the benefits of keeping the Rural Fire District No. 2 housed in the city limits.
He also understands, however, that the fire district's desire to remain in Arma instead of moving to Franklin as previously planned could upset those in the Franklin community.
The combination of those two factors makes for a tense situation.
"It certainly puts me in a very tight spot," Schook said on Monday. "It's not an easy situation to be in, but all I want to do is lend a hand where I can lend a hand."
The fire district is hoping to build a new station in Arma's Industrial Park. Kenny Yoakum, vice president of the RFD No. 2 board, said recently that the desire to remain in Arma is one based on cost-effectiveness. That change-of-mind did not sit well with some in Franklin, particularly those who helped obtain the land on which the fire district planned to build.
But while the decision has caused some tension between the fire district and the Franklin Community Council, Schook said he hopes that tension doesn't spread to Arma.
"I hope no one is mad at Arma," Schook said. "It's not like we went chasing after this. (The fire district) approached us two or three months ago about staying in Arma."
When RFD No. 2 approached the city, Schook said he considered not only the impact of the decision on Arma, but also the emotional reaction among Franklin residents.
"But that is one of those tough decisions you have to make," he said.
Although Schook and the Arma City Council are in discussions with RFD No. 2 regarding how to make their proposal a reality, no decision is yet set in stone.
"It hasn't been fully determined yet," Schook said. "Right now, I'd say there is a 50-50 chance that it will go either place."
No matter the final decision, Schook said he hopes any tension caused by this debate won't affect the relationship between Arma and Franklin.
"I'd like to think we could work together on future projects for the common good of both communities," he said. "I want to see Franklin succeed as much as I want to see Arma succeed."

During a meeting on Saturday, Yoakum told the Franklin Community Council, Inc., that keeping the station in Arma would benefit both RFD No. 2 and the Arma Fire Department.
"The main reason for the change is staffing of the guys and their personal protection equipment," Yoakum said. "The Arma Fire Department and the RFD No. 2 Department are staffed by the same people. It would be so much better to have all the equipment in one place."
He also said staying in Arma makes more financial sense.
""If we go to Franklin, we'll have to absorb the utilities within the district budget," Yoakum said on Saturday. "Those utilities run around $1,200 to $1,500 per month."
Craig Stokes, FCCI chairman, said Saturday he was not pleased with how the situation has been handled. He said that the Franklin site purchased by the district had not been for sale before he approached the property owners.
"I expect you to write a sincere apology to them," Stokes said. "The way this situation was handled is not right."
Earlier this month, Yoakum said it was never the intention of RFD No. 2 to upset anyone in Franklin.
"I don't want to make anyone in Franklin mad," he said, "but we're just having to look at the whole picture here."

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Who does Linda Grilz represent anyway?
The Morning Sun; Posted Apr 29, 2009 @ 12:19 AM

Dear Editor
After attending RFD #2’s meeting regarding placement for the new fire station, I would like to know who Linda Grilz is respresenting? All the people in her district or a few select Franklin residents. The RFD #2 board expressed valid resons wy the new station would be better placed in Arma’s industrial park rather than the proposed site in Franklin.
The Arma location would better serve the entire area. Some people seem to forget RFD #2 does not solely serve Franklin, but also a number of other small communities. Did Linda Grilz check with any of the other small communities this fire district will serve regarding their concerns? Why are these few residents of Franklin so dead set on having the fire station built in Franklin?
The fire district board explained that Arma would Continue to furnish all utilities for the station at no cost if built in the industrial park. Otherwise, the fire district will have to pay this out of their budget. In return, Arma does gain the use of some of the rural district’s equipment. The city and rural district have many of the same firefighters and access to equipment would be easier from one central location. They would use the site in Franklin as a training ground for all area firefighters. Everyone continues to receive quality fire protection at no added expense. If the fire station goes into the industrial park in Arma, everyone wins!
Judy Leene
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Paid Ad Placed by FCCI

Facts Regarding the Crawford County RFD #2 Fire Station

Franklin vs. Arma:

Ÿ  This is not a Franklin vs. Arma issue.  This is a Crawford County issue.

Ÿ  Franklin and Arma residents have a long history of working together on many projects which benefit both communities. 


Ÿ  Over 2 years ago Franklin Community Council, Inc. (FCCI) was approached by the Rural Fire District.    FCCI offered to help ensure that a new rural fire station was built in Crawford County and are still willing to work with RFD #2.  FCCI helped secure funding with the grant and funding application process.  FCCI worked with environmental, legal, USDA and property purchase issues.   This was done only after Arma and RFD #2 absolutely could not work together on this project.


Ÿ  The location in Franklin was selected when Arma and the Fire District could not reach an agreement.

Ÿ   The property in Franklin was not previously for sale and the sale was only secured due to the fact that the fire station would be built there. It was purchased at a discounted price.

Ÿ  When the location in Arma was talked about years ago one of their major concerns was the firefighters safety in crossing the by-pass to get to the fire station which at that time was to be located on the west side of the bypass in Arma.  The decision to place the fire station on the east side of the bypass in Franklin was considered to be a much safer location. 

Overall Issues: 

Ÿ   RFD #2  should be representing the best interests of all of Crawford County and not just what is best for Arma or Franklin.  

Ÿ  The rural fire station is for the residents of Crawford County and not for the convenience of either community. 

Ÿ  If there were concerns with building in Franklin those concerns should have been addressed prior to obtaining the funding. 

Ÿ  There are safety issues for the fire fighters and those traveling on 69 Highway.   The potential new location in the Arma Industrial Park will force the fire fighters to cross one of the most dangerous intersections in Crawford County with a history of death and injury accidents.  These fire fighters will be approaching the intersection with high adrenalin levels in anticipation of reaching the station as quickly as possible. Their main focus will be getting to the fire station and heading to the fire as well as re-entering the intersection to report to the fire. 

Ad paid for by Franklin Community Council, Inc. 

Mission Statement:  Franklin Community Council, Inc. is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening our community and surrounding areas both now and for future generations. Our mission is to improve the quality of life within the community of Franklin and surrounding areas.

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County commission discusses RFD No. 2
The Morning Sun; Posted May 16, 2009 @ 12:32 AM
Plans for a fire station in Arma for Crawford County Rural Fire District No. 2 took another step as officials updated the Crawford County Commission about their progress.
Larry VanBecelaere, president of the board of RFD No. 2, spoke to the commissioners about the latest plans for placing a fire station in Arma.
A proposal has been put together from Arma that VanBecelaere said “would benefit both the city and the county.”
Details of the proposal were not disclosed at the meeting, as the plans have not been approved by any governing body.
County Commissioner Ralph McGeorge spoke at one point about the potential agreement.
“It’s a win-win-win situation,” McGeorge said. “It will save us money and impact the safety in the northern part of the county. It will also save us money in the long term, too. This will also free up money for other expenses you have. This is a well-thought-out thing to do.”
However, there were a few concerns about the plans moving forward. First of all is the potential location: on the west side of U.S. Highway 69.
VanBecelaere said the intersection was “dangerous”.
“I’ve written a letter to [KDOT’s] George Dockery to get a red flashing light there,” VanBecelaere said. “That is one of my main concerns is the traffic situation. We’ve tried everything. We’ve tried to get the state to get a light out there.”
County Commissioner Linda Grilz expressed concern for another reason: how much of the bill Arma would foot. The Arma Fire Department and the RFD fire station are expected to co-exist.
“Having the two co-exist makes sense,” Grilz said. “My concern, though, is that we don’t want to get this into a situation where the county is underwriting the fire department for Arma.
“Cohabitation of the two makes sense. Sharing the equipment and gear makes sense. I want to make sure Arma is paying their fair share.”
The next step for the RFD will be to formalize plans and come to a final agreement with Arma.

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County creates building commission
The Morning Sun; Posted May 30, 2009 @ 12:40 AM
In other news, Crawford County Commissioners:
 briefly discussed Arma’s proposal to put the Fire District No. 2 fire station in Arma’s west industrial park.
Arma City Administrator Tim Schook spoke with commissioners about the Arma site and gave them some information. Commissioner Linda Grilz then said that she wasn’t sure about sharing the site with the Arma Fire Department based on Arma’s contributions.
“I’m not complaining, I just want to take a look at it,” Grilz said.
“It sounds like you are (complaining),” Schook responded.
Grilz said that she wanted to see more information before making a decision. Schook said he provided commissioners with all the information, though Emerson said they still needed some more information before making a decision.
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Arma rejects proposed changes to fire district agreement
The Morning Sun; Posted Jun 16, 2009 @ 11:09 PM
If the Crawford County Commission ends up approving an agreement that would relocate Rural Fire District No. 2's station to the Arma Industrial Park, it may not do so unanimously.

Linda Grilz, District 2 commissioner, was not pleased with the agreement recently delivered to the commission by Arma City Administrator Tim Schook.

The agreement, developed by the city in conjunction with the fire district, called for a 99-year contract between the two entities. As terms of the contract, Arma would allow the fire district to build its station in the industrial park and Arma would pay 25 percent of the mortgage and maintenance expenses. The city also would continue to pay 100 percent of the fire district's utility costs. In turn, the fire district would share the building with the Arma Fire Department.

Grilz has publicly supported the idea of a shared facility, but has also voiced concern over how much of the costs Arma is willing to pay. She recently sent the proposed contract back to Arma with some recommended changes. She would like to see Arma up its expense sharing from 25 percent to 30 percent and she wants the contract length reduced to 30 years.
"On the 30 percent deal, when I'm looking at the fire protection Arma gets from Rural Fire District No. 2, it seems more of a third split to me," she said. "That's what I was looking for."

As for the length of the contract, Grilz said she would rather the agreement last only for the term of the mortgage, at which point she hopes the two parties would negotiate a new contract.

"It's easy to sit here today and obligate a commission and a city to something for 100 years," she said. "But there are so many things that could happen that we can't foresee. I don't want to strap down either entity to something for that long of a period."

On Monday, Schook told the Arma City Council about Grilz's recommendations, adding that he rejected her proposed changes.

"I looked at those changes," Schook said on Tuesday, "and I just do not agree."

There is value in having a 99-year agreement, he said, chief among them being the commitment of each party to the other.

If you think about it, 30 years is a relatively short span," he said. "We would be making a good financial commitment, but at the end of 30 years, we could end up out on our tails and we'd have to end up spending extra money. I don't want to take that risk.

"We want to commit to the fire district, and by the same token, we want them to commit to us."

Schook also said that by offering to pay 25 percent of the mortgage and upkeep, the city would be offering to pay "more than our proportionate share, if you just base it on fire calls."

"For the long-term picture, that's a pretty good deal for the fire district," Schook said.

The two other county commissioners, Bob Kmiec and Ralph McGeorge, said Tuesday they support the agreement offered between Arma and the fire district.

"This is something we need to look very closely at," Kmiec said. "It looks like a good deal to me for the rural fire district."
McGeorge called the offer a "win-win-win situation," adding that by building a station in Arma instead of in Franklin — where it was originally proposed — the fire district would save a significant amount of cash.

"With Arma picking up the percentage they say they will and picking up all of the utilities and they are giving the land to the fire district, that leaves the fire district a lot of wiggle room financially if they need to spend money on something," he said. "If it was to go to Franklin, there would be virtually no wiggle room at all. Linda (Grilz) has her ideas, and they are to be respected, but I think Arma has a good offer on the table."

McGeorge said the commissioners would all take a closer look at the contract before approving it.

"We still haven't made our decision yet," he said. "There are still a few things we want to look at. In the end, we want what is best for the people."

Schook said he has no plans to compromise on the terms offered in the contract. Neither does Grilz.

"I want a shorter contract," she said

"She's one vote," Schook said. "Let's put this to a vote and see where it goes. It's up to them."

Kenny Yoakum, RFD No. 2 board vice-president, said he hopes an agreement is reached and approved soon so work can begin on the new station.

"I'm just anxious to get this project going and to see dirt get moving," he said. "Whether the contract is 30 years or 99 years, that's irrelevant to me. I can't see how it's a benefit or a loss either way. What's important is the building itself and getting it going."
Comments (1)
Ninety-nine years is way too long to have a contract for. The dynamics of this area may change o much it would not be feasable. I think Ms. Grilz prposal has merit and is the right one. Arma's city manager needs to be a little more flexible and both parties need to show more commitment to this venture. I would like to know why the commission dismissed Franklin as the site for the fire station. And I would like to also know if the city manager has some ulterior motives for wanting the fire station in Arma instead of Franklin since there has been so much controversary over Arma wanting to annex Franklin. Where is the center of Fire District # 2? IS it closer to Arma or Franklin? Perhaps the County Commission should look at more angles to this propsal than jumping on the first two that pop up.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Rural Fire District No. 2
The Morning Sun; Posted Jun 20, 2009 @ 11:10 PM

I cannot understand how the County Commission could seriously consider the contract offered to them by the City of Arma for Rural Fire District #2.

How can anybody look 99 years into the future? Arma did not want to on their Westar contract. That would mean the great grand kids of the present people would be paying for the mistake that is in the present contract offered by the City of Arma to the county. Also Arma uses about 35% of the equipment but only want to pay for 25%. Arma growth is expected to increase sharply with highway 69 being made into 4 lanes and normal growth. Which means the contract may be outdated in as few as 5 years with the growth. Most rural fires are grass fires that does not require the time and equipment that house and building fires in Arma requires. The County Commission needs to sharply look at this contact and get it modified to benefit and fair to all the people, not only to Arma. Most loans are about 20 years and this contract should follow that time frame. We need to guide our County Commissioners to get a proper contract for Rural Fire District #2 not the one being offered presently by the city of Arma.

Edwin Kime
Rural Pittsburg
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RFD No. 2, Arma get green light for station
The Morning Sun; Posted Jun 23, 2009 @ 11:55 PM

Arma Fire Chief Mike McLeod ran out of the County Commission room and into the empty hallway and threw a fist into the air.
Then, as Rural Fire District No. 2  board members filed out in the hall, McLeod greeted each one with high fives and handshakes.
It was a celebration that was a long time coming after four to five years of working to get a new fire station put into place for the district.
The Crawford County Commission put its seal of approval on a deal between RFD No. 2 and the city of Arma to put a fire station in Arma’s industrial park. It was a calm end to a long process that involved numerous negotiations and funding concerns.
Several years ago, the fire district was looking to build a new fire station and originally went to Arma city leaders. However, Arma officials did not want to foot the full cost of the fire station in case of financial constraints.
The RFD sought funding elsewhere, and it found that help from Craig Stokes of Franklin. Stokes wrote a grant proposal to USDA Rural Development and received a $50,000 grant and $673,300 as a low-interest loan. Plans were then to put the site in Franklin.
However, this spring, RFD officials began to get second thoughts about the Franklin site and went to Arma one more time to see about a possible deal. This time, Arma officials agreed to negotiate a deal to build the station in the Arma industrial park near U.S. 69 Highway.
An agreement was made for a 99-year contract between the two organizations, and Arma agreed to pay 25 percent of the mortgage and maintenance costs, as well as 100 percent of the utilities. However, County Commissioner Linda Grilz was concerned both about the length of the contract and how much Arma was paying.
According to McLeod, Arma receives “15-20 calls a year” while the RFD receives more than 100. Because of that, McLeod said the percentage agreements were more than fair. The entities did agree to revise the contract down to just 30 years. That version of the contract was approved by the county commission at Tuesday’s meeting.
After the meeting, there was much rejoicing about the progress on the fire station, yet much work left to be done. McLeod said the paperwork would need to get approved, then the engineer would need to finish his work to get plans to the USDA Rural Development for approval before the project goes out for bid in the late summer or early fall.
“We’ve been working on this project for four years. We finally got the details worked out. I really think this is the best way to go for the whole district,” McLeod said. “It’s very exciting. I’m thrilled.”
County commissioners agreed that the contract was a positive step for the whole county.
“I’m so glad we could come to an agreement,” Grilz said. “After further discussion with the district fire chief, the 25 percent seemed fair. I’m pleased we could come to a 30-year agreement. It’s too difficult to see what would happen even 30 years from now.”
County Commissioner Bob Kmiec suggested that the RFD should have been moving forward earlier.
“This is long overdue,” Kmiec said. “This should have been done three weeks ago. Everybody’s happy now. We’ve got to get started so Rural Development can get their money spent.”
Finally, County Commissioner Ralph McGeorge described the situation as a “win-win-win” for all involved.
“I think it’s just an excellent deal working for 30 years. Arma came down to that. It’s a good situation for everybody,” McGeorge said. “We’re showing Topeka that we can get along down here, and we are, following the recommendations that have been made.”
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