Russell Township Trustees said that they have run into a financial barricade regarding the building of an 8,000-square-foot multi-purpose storage facility.

Trustees said $500,000 was budgeted, but $717,310 is needed for the project due to the rising cost of materials and labor. The building, which is the next step in tearing down the 60-year-old former fire station located on the corner of Route 306 and Kinsman Road, would be used as storage for both the fire and police departments, trustees said during an Oct. 13 meeting. The new structure would be built south of the township police station.

Trustees discussed the possibility of other revenue including using funding from the fire department as a loan. But Trustee Jim Mueller said that option should not be considered until fire Chief John Frazier can be in attendance. The chief was not at the meeting.

“I’m not comfortable with continuing this conversation without Chief [Frazier] present,” Mr. Mueller said.

Officials noted that the $400,000 estimate was made by construction manager Jim Dixon about nine months ago. State law requires townships to advertise for bids on projects.

Mr. Dixon and the J. Dixon Company, Inc. built both the fire and police stations, trustees noted.

Mr. Mueller suggested the township take a line of credit out with a local bank. Residents would not be affected if the township went this route, he said.

“A problem in the last nine or 10 months is that the prices of steel and everything have gone up,” he said, adding that labor costs have risen as much as 40 percent. Trustees are now scrambling trying to figure out how to pay for the building.

Trustees were to meet Wednesday (Oct. 20) to further discuss the issue.

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