Avondale Estates mayor wants fire station approvedEd Rieker
Avondale Estates Mayor Ed Rieker let it be known Monday that he didn’t appreciate DeKalb County postponing the rebuilding of a fire station in the city.
DeKalb County will vote on the fire station again Tuesday, Jan. 28, after deferring the matter two weeks ago.
“I just have to tell you that tomorrow, if they don’t vote on it tomorrow, I think we will take some actions tomorrow afternoon and do what we can to force the issue,” Rieker said during the City Commission meeting.
Rieker declined to specify what action the city might take.
The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners hasn’t approved awarding the contract to rebuild the fire station, but the money is available and the new station is long overdue. I first raised questions about the delay of the project after the DeKalb County Commission voted on Jan. 14 to defer it. Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton asked for the delay.
When I asked her why, she said, “I was asking for information about how we can make sure that our county buildings are not taken by any of the new cities. I want to find a way to protect county property in the future.”
Rieker said Avondale Estates doesn’t want to buy the fire station. The delay of the project also got some DeKalb County mayors talking about Sutton’s job performance as their commissioner.
The contract is valued at $1.96 million and is funded primarily with federal money. Rieker said the fire station has needed to be rebuilt for years, and it has been talked about since the 1990s.
The building serves not just Avondale Estates, but unincorporated parts of DeKalb County.
“It really disturbs me that they are not taking care of the folks that are first responders over there,” Rieker said. “It really is a substandard building. They have to live in that building. They sleep over there. They eat over there.”
He called the county’s decision to hold up the project “shameful.”
In other business, City Commissioners approved amending city code to allow for distilleries and artisan food production. There is a small batch whiskey distillery and vinegar production shop in the works for a spot somewhere behind the city’s Tudor Village. Mayor Rieker recused himself from voting because he owns property that might potentially house the new distillery and vinegar shop.
The new legislation also allows for home brewing competitions in the city.