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Fire/police departments sinking

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By Carolyn Ten Broeck, Editor

Earlier this year, perhaps in February, Williston Fire Chief Lamar Stegall and Deputy Chief Danny Wallace noticed some loose panels around the station.

They fixed them, but six weeks later they were loose again and then they noticed buckling.

What has ensued since mid-March is the city's fire and police departments are located on a sink hole and it's critical both departments relocate.

Tuesday night, an hour-long discussion about what needs to be done dominated the regular meeting of the Williston City Council.

But there's a complication.

Even though the insurance company sent out an engineer to assess the damages, the city has yet to see a finalized copy of that report.

Lippmann said he has had both telephone conversations and emails from the insurer regarding what it will do, but nothing definitive has been nailed down, nor is in it writing.

Because the property is located near the city's well and water tower, Lippmann said he believes it will be difficult to fix the problem even though an engineer says it can be done.

Employee safety is weighing on all the councilmen's minds.

Mayor Gerald Hethcoat reminded everyone that if the two departments relocate, it will be something that necessitates time and planning.

"We can't wait until the last minute," the mayor said.

Lippmann assured the mayor and council that the chiefs of both departments are looking into short-term solutions.

The fire department, he said, will most likely relocate to the airport and other property is being looked at for the police department.

"I have identified property for the long term," Lippmann said, "but I have no facts to back up anything at this point."

He told council that his plan was to start Wednesday with higher insurance management to get answers–and the copies of the engineer's report.

The most visible damage at this point is along the south and west sides of the building.