CITY OF SAN ANTONIO
Office of the City ManagerP. 0. BOX 839966
SAN ANTONIO TEXAS 78283-3966
February 5, 2010Congressman Ciro Rodriguez2351 Rayburn HOBWashington, DC 20515RE: ARRA Grant for 2 new San Antonio Fire StationsDear Congressman Rodriguez:
In October 2009„ the City of San Antonio received a notice of a grant award for a total of $7.3 million inAmerican Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds to build 2 new fire stations to serve the citizens of San
Antonio. These 2 fire stations will serve people in 2 underserved areas of the City and reduce
response times from 8 minutes to 4.55 minutes.We are very happy to receive such a grant award, however, the grant originally was expected to cause a
6 month delay in the completion of the facilities. At first, the City had intended to have these 2 stations
operational in October 2010 when two new fire companies are ready to occupy them and provide service.
As a result of some added green building design and construction requirements of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) we committed to our community that these fire stations would
be operational by April 2011. Two new companies are planned to be temporarily housed in the nearestfire facility that has space. Housing the new companies at existing facilities is a transitional solution butdoes not afford our community with the level of service that they would receive if the new stations were
built in the locations that we have selected (see attached service area maps).
Unfortunately, we have run into a few more hurdles in this process. We had expected to start preparingthe necessary environmental permits for these 2 projects months ago. However, FEMA had advised us
that we should not move forward with environmental clearance until we received notice that such
clearance was necessary. On January 25, 2010, a conference call with FEMA was held and we were told
that as a condition of the ARRA grant, an Environmental Assessment is required for each fire station. An
Environmental Assessment will take 60 days and review/approval by FEMA would take could take up to 3
additional months to complete. In addition, FEMA has not provided a timeline for review of our project
budget but we are told that FEMA has 6 months to get back with us. This will delay our project by a total
of almost a year which is not acceptable to our citizens.
We are asking your assistance in getting FEMA to move more quickly on the budget and environmental
reviews so that we may keep our commitments to our neighborhoods and begin providing a higher level
of fire protection. The City has already invested $2.6 million dollars in annual costs to bring on two full fire
companies to serve this area and we are unable to realize the service improvement commensurate with
that cost. The safety of our community is too important to wait another year, therfore, we are also
considering requesting the grant for a replacement fire station if FEMA is unable to respond to our needsfor these new fire stations in a manner that is more timely than they are currently indicating.
Assistant City Manager