Press-Republican

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January 14, 2013

$2.5 M Morrisonville firehouse addition up for vote

MORRISONVILLE — Soon, voters will decide on a $2.5 million update and expansion project for Morrisonville Volunteer Fire Department’s station.

A referendum vote is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 31, said Gary Rabideau, chairman of the Board of Fire Commissioners. 

The Clinton County and Town of Schuyler Falls zoning boards have already approved the project, fire officials said.

”We’re pushing for spring construction,” Rabideau said. “We would like as much input from the town residents as possible.”

The addition would include a decontamination room, a “day room” for mutual-aid departments, expanded office space, a new community room and a fitness center for department members. 

The updates also would make the entrance and bathroom of the building handicap accessible.

SOFT, HARD COSTS

The multi-million dollar price tag includes “soft and hard costs,” everything from attorney’s fees to bonding, Rabideau said.

”The Fire Department commissioners take the expenditure of taxpayer dollars very seriously,” a department press release said.

The annual tax rate, should the project be approved, would be 51 cents per $1,000 of assessed value on property in the Fire District, he said.

The increase would still put Morrisonville under the county average property-tax rate, Rabideau said.

SPREADING THE WORD

The project would likely be financed with a 20-year bond, he said.

The project has been in the works for awhile, with planning starting in April of last year.

Many who live in the Fire District are aware of the plans, as firefighters have been spreading the word for quite some time, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Brown said.

SAFETY RISKS

Some of the features the fire station is lacking pose significant safety risks, Rabideau said. The building doesn’t have a fire alarm system or sprinklers, and the electrical system is antiquated.

Those deficiencies would have to be addressed even if the project doesn’t pass, he said.

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