The city had budgeted $480,000 for the fire station.
The Community Arts Center turned over $124,000 Monday left over when bids for an elevator, ramp and HVAC system for the Federal Building came in under budget. If that money is used for the fire station, the total that could be spent would be $604,000.
Mayor John Bowling asked commissioners to consider withdrawing an application for a state grant to replace sidewalks downtown and spend the grant match money, $99,000, on the fire station.
No resolution was reached, but Commissioner Terry Crowley called it a "terrible idea."
During the discussion Crowley questioned why the commissioners hadn't seen a design for a fire station with a price tag that matched the city's budget.
Bowling told him that $480,000 would buy the city a square metal building. He said that the cost of the station has risen as time has passed, and that a city can't build an attractive station for half-a-million dollars.
He said that having an attractive fire station was a matter of Danville "culture" and "pride."
"We're going to have to spend at least $600,000," Bowling said. "We could have a pick-up truck or a Buick, I think we want a Buick."
Bowling asked the architect to make the station design look more "historic" and to add shutters to the windows. Later he said he might buy the shutters himself.
Gay, Crowley want to see if cost can be reduced
Commissioners Jamey Gay and Crowley wanted to see if the cost could be brought down.
"I'm not in favor of putting an ugly metal building out there," Crowley said, adding that he thought there was a middle ground.
"This (cost) snowball has been going uphill since site selection," Crowley said.
The cost went down to $595,680 if the station only had brick in the front, the side that faces the bypass.
Bowling said that eventually the back of the property would be developed and then people would be able to see the front and back of the station.
That struck a sore spot with Gay.
"C'mon, you've got to be kidding me," he told the mayor.
Gay said that he believed that Tommy Owens gave them a deal on the property because he knew it would trigger development on surrounding acreage that Owens owned.
Bowling said that he asked Owens to donate the property, but that appraisers had put the price of that acre at $250,000. The city paid $75,000.
Crowley questioned the Commission's decision to spend that much for the bypass location instead of building it behind the Goodwill for nearly half the cost.
"Putting the firehouse out on the hill is the right decision," Bowling said. "It's a no-brainer."
He said that the other site would have been a safety concern because people going to Applebee's on Saturday night park in the street, and the fire trucks would have had a hard time getting to the bypass in an emergency.