KRUM — Krum City Council members unanimously agreed that they would leave the fate of a new fire station and public works building to city residents again during the November elections.
However, council members were divided Monday on whether the two buildings should be included under one ballot proposition or divided, which would allow the residents to vote on the items separately.
In May, voters deadlocked on a nearly $3 million proposition that included approving tax bonds to build a new fire station, a public works building and the property needed for the new buildings.
According to the previous proposition, the city planned to use $2.2 million to build the fire department, $300,000 for the public works building and $250,000 for the land purchase.
After the proposition failed, officials discussed other options such as issuing certificates of obligation, which doesn’t require a vote.
A few officials said they believe the proposition failed because of misinformation and confusion over the items being combined into one ballot item.
But most of the council members still pushed to include each item under one proposition.
The current public works facility sits on the land needed to build the new fire station. Officials plan to demolish the public works building to make room for the fire station.
If the proposition is split and the tax bonds for fire station passes but not for public works, then the public works employees would need to find a new home.
Fire Chief Ken Swindle said the public works department would be moved to its previous building, which he said is in worse shape than the current 40-plus-year-old building.
City staff and council members said they were stumped when the proposition didn’t pass in May.
“The proposition failed, and we need to know why,” council member Paul Meine said. “I think there was a lot of misinformation spread and we need to educate the people.”
Council member Bert Witherspoon said he would like the items to be split as separate ballot items.
“The fact that we on council can’t agree to why it failed, illustrates why it failed,” he said. “Everyone has their own opinions.”
Witherspoon said separating the items would allow voters to see clearly what they are voting for or against.
Swindle said the city did an excellent job explaining the proposition and he can’t imagine the city doing it differently.
Meine said the city probably needs to a better job of selling the idea to residents.
“We need to do a lot of PR work,” he said.
During the Monday night council meeting, Swindle said the current fire station has an infestation problem and is too small to accommodate the growth of the city and department.
“That’s what we’re living in,” he said.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.