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Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority eyes new headquarters

The new Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority is considering this building for a headquarters that would replace the agency’s cramped offices at fire station 53.
Photo by Matt Hinshaw.

The new Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority is considering this building for a headquarters that would replace the agency’s cramped offices at fire station 53.

PRESCOTT – CAFMA, the new Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority that will result from the blending of the Central Yavapai and Chino Valley Fire Districts, needs a new headquarters, Chief Scott Freitag told the governing board at a meeting on Wednesday, April 6.

The CFYD’s main office is currently is the station 53 building at 8555 E. Yavapai Road; when the command staff of CYFD took over operations of CVFD, they moved all the administrative personnel to station 53 because CVFD did not have a suitable building.

In the station 53 facility, though, “We’re crammed in like sardines – we don’t really fit,” Freitag said, going on to list problems with the aging building, like the fact that running a computer printer makes the lights dim, the sewer line has a crack, and the heating and air-conditions system doesn’t work well because of the renovations made in the past.

“Our Human Resources office is the kitchen,” he said, and that makes privacy a problem.

He added that the district had been trying to make suitable changes for ten years and hadn’t been able to accomplish them.

Freitag’s solution is to buy the office building at 8603 Eastridge, near Navajo and Highway 69, avoiding an estimated $3 million expense to construct a new building.

The existing building is 14,035 square feet, which allows some room for future expansion, Freitag said. The price tag is $1.395 million, and renovating it would cost several hundred thousand dollars more.

The money would come from the CYFD capital reserve fund, which will be combined with the CVFD capital reserve when the Authority is finalized July 1.

Board Chairman Steve Rutherford was cautious about the purchase.

“This building presents an opportunity, but we still need to figure out the long-term – how do we keep a reasonable capital balance?” he asked.

Member Tom Steele asked about the possibility of paying for it over time with a mortgage, but the general consensus among board members was that it wouldn’t be an advantage to pay interest when it wasn’t necessary.

The combined total of the two funds will be about $10 million, leaving about $8.6 million in the “rainy-day” account if the board decides to buy the building.

The board will consider the matter further before voting on whether to spend the money.

Follow Scott Orr on Twitter @AZNewsguy. Call him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2038 or 928-642-7705.

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