Upper Jay’s fire station houses five response vehicles.
But the ambulance is stored at the Jay fire station about 5 miles east.
“We have not had that in our station since the flood, because one of our bays was incapacitated,” Walton explained of the temporary arrangement.
“The Jay Volunteer Fire Department is short of space and would like to return it to us.”
SHORT OF FUNDING
Upper Jay fire commissioners and Town of Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas have sought assistance from federal emergency recovery specialists.
Finding additional financing is the next hurdle — a new fire station may cost over $2 million to build given new codes for public-safety building construction, energy-efficiency requirements and laws governing prevailing wage rates in New York state.
“We are very short on financing. What we are looking for and hoping for is a directed move from FEMA,” Walton said.
Enacted in the interest of public safety, a directed move falls under mitigation response to prevent future flood impact.
In order to qualify for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designation, the Upper Jay Fire Commission has to prove repeated incidents of flooding.
The fire station is at an elevation somewhat lower than the Land of Make Believe situated just across the river, which was suffered major damage many times over the years and destroyed by Irene.
“The town historian has done some research — flooding occurred here from ice dams in 1992, 1996, 1998; there was a major flood in 1986, 1976, 1955, with numerous smaller ones in between.”
CAN’T TAX TO BUILD
A directed move would garner federal funds, but even that may not cover the cost of new construction.
The shortfall is something that fire commissioners of Upper Jay can’t bring to taxpayers.
“We have a big geographical area to cover in our district,” Walton said. “But we are limited because we only have 125 to 145 parcels.”