Long said the purpose of the discussion was to help officials better understand the project. The mayor said it was the council’s responsibility to ensure the new garage would adequately serve the city at a cost that would not burden taxpayers.
The square footage for the shop area of the city’s proposed vehicle maintenance facility is 4,793 and square footage for the metal and concrete building’s office space is 3,116, according to Phil Parker, director of public utilities.
“It’s far and wide more facility than we have now,” Parker told the council. He said the existing garage was built in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Fort Oglethorpe city manager Ron Goulart confirmed the council had approved the architectural plans in February. City public works director Jeff Long said the city started on the plans in September 2011. Long said the city has discussed building a new garage for nearly 15 years.
Long said the city’s existing vehicle maintenance facility has only one bay and therefore repair jobs can get “backed up.” He said the current garage is too small to accommodate large vehicles such as fire trucks. City mechanics have no choice but to work on large vehicles outside the maintenance bay, Long said.
Council members Louis Hamm and Johnny “Red” Smith voiced concern over security for the proposed garage.
Hamm said only city mechanics should have access to the building’s shop area. He said tools are expensive and feared they could potentially be “walked off” if there is a lot of employee traffic through that section of the building. Parker suggested installing security video cameras in the shop area. He said the city installed security cameras in-house at city hall.
Smith asked if the gates to the maintenance complex could be placed on timers to be closed off during the holidays. Long said that would not be a problem, as plans for the new garage include a changed entrance.
Smith also asked if the existing garage would continue to be used by the city, once the new facility is complete. Goulart replied the current vehicle maintenance facility would likely be used to store city jet trucks and other equipment during the cold winter months.