Fairfax County's new fire station sits idle
Fairfax County has a new fire station, fully equipped and ready to serve the community. But no one is working there.
The county spent $11 million to build the station, but they don't have the money to staff it.
Final inspections were conducted Thursday at the fire station at the intersection of Beulah Road and Leesburg Pike.
Fairfax County Executive Ed Long is recommending the station remain closed until January 2015.
Neither the county nor the fire department would go on camera with ABC7, but over the phone, a fire department spokesperson told us the county just needs the money and can save more than $4 million per year in firefighter salaries and building costs.
Brad Hargroves lives in the neighborhood across the street. He understands the county's money dilemma and feels there are already plenty of fire stations nearby. He says he can wait till 2015.
"It doesn't make too much of a difference to us," Hargroves says. "We have good coverage and it will be a bit of a nuisance because it is very, very close to us."
Hargroves says the county should have done a better job at planning and budgeting.
"They rarely have contingency funds to take care of things like this," he says. "They spend money when they have it and when they don't have it they can't do what they want."
For a long time, the plot of land where the fire station now sits stood empty, says Meg Smith, president of the Wolf Trap Green Neighborhood Association, which represents about 70 homes near the fire station.
Smith: "There wasn't a huge need for it in the neighborhood necessarily," Smith says. "But having built it, you would think that they would go ahead and put people in it. Leaving it empty is not its best use."
County officials say it won't be empty. For a while, it'll be used for training.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors still has to adopt a final 2014 fiscal budget. That is expected to take place on April 30.