The Diligence Fire Company of Summit Hill received some hopeful news about its new headquarters last night.

Following an executive session, the borough council unanimously accepted an offer from the contractor that built the new firehouse, to replace the defective concrete floor in the apparatus room.

Council members said once the floor is replaced, the fire company probably will be given permission to occupy the Ludlow Street structure.

There are other issues with the building, but none which will prevent occupancy, council members said.

It is not definite how long it will be before the floor work is completed, but it is anticipated to happen by the end of this year or in early January.

The contractor, Miller Brothers Inc. of Schuylkill Haven, must remove the existing defective concrete. This, council said, could take three or four days. After the new concrete is poured, it will take 28 days for curing and testing.

Reportedly, it was a subcontractor that initially installed the floor.

The fire station was originally scheduled to be completed in December of 2008, but problems arose which prevented the Diligence volunteers from taking occupancy.

Among those problems is an alleged faulty HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) system, installed by Hoch Mechanical of Allentown. The HVAC problems haven't been resolved, the council said. No other comment was made regarding the HVAC problems, except one councilman noted that HVAC problems also exist in the borough hall. The borough hall has been occupied since August 2008.

The borough hall and fire station were part of a $3.5 million building project, for which ground was broken on March 6, 2008.

Councilman Michael Alabovitz said the defective floor was the main reason the borough has refused to accept the fire station.

Michael Kokinda, a councilman, agreed and said once the concrete issue is resolved, the fire company may finally move into the structure.

Currently the fire department shares space in the borough's maintenance garage.

During the meeting, Kokinda said the contractor had informed him that the one-year warranty period began in May, meaning the structure theoretically could be over half-way through its warranty before it is even occupied.

"We were told we own that building since May," Kokinda said.

Council President Joe Weber disagreed and countered, "We do not have an occupancy permit."

Weber said occupancy must be approved by the borough's Unified Construction Code official, who will have to make an inspection of the structure.

Councilman John Shemansik repeated statements he has made at prior meetings: "I'll never vote for acceptance until it is 100 percent complete."