Hardin City Officials and the Fire District Board have come to an agreement for now on a new fire station.
During the tense meeting, Hardin Public Works Director Larry Eastley told board members that he received personal threats from all but three of them. Eastley said the board violated no less than four city ordinances and a “gentlemen’s agreement” with the State Emergency Management Administration.
Eastley said board members drug him into the middle of the fight.
“It was never me, and it was not about me trying to stop you from doing anything,” Eastley said. “We busted our tail end so we could get it approved. The city wants the fire station. We would be stupid not to want it.”
None of the board members denied any of Eastley’s allegations, nor did they comment.
Mayor Bob McCorkendale backed up Eastley and said the fireboard could put the whole town’s flood insurance at risk.
“I would love to stretch the rules a little bit, but when you’re dealing with (SEMA.) I can’t take the chance on a lot of people in town losing their houses and things,” McCorkendale said. “We want to go ahead with it, but we don’t want them down here every week looking everytime somebody puts a little shed or something up in their backyard.”
Among the ordinances violated, the board failed to obtain a building permit and submit a site plan, which according to Eastley has led to other problems now.
The board had an agreement with the city and SEMA to build the structure’s foundation walls up to base flood plain elevations. In order to be within regulations, the walls need to be five feet. The walls were poured at two feet. In addition the wall was poured three feet from an adjacent property line violating the city’s set back rules.
Eastley told the board that Federal Emergency Management Agency officials have informed him that the department will lower the BFLE three feet; however he also said that may not occur for another six months to a year.
Eastley said he might be able to get approval from FEMA to go ahead with construction under the assumption the BFLE will be changed.
The board tabled any action on the matter until next meeting.