Press-Republican

May 8, 2013

Tupper OKs police/fire facility

BY SUZANNE MOORE Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — TUPPER LAKE — A new fire/police complex will be built on Santa Clara Avenue in Tupper Lake.

“August 1st, in the ground,” an ecstatic Mayor Paul Maroun said Tuesday night.

A public referendum gave the OK for the Village of Tupper Lake to go to bond for $3.2 million, at 2 percent interest for 30 years, for a new emergency services building at a cost not to exceed $4.5 million.

The tally was 362-300, with 27 ballots Maroun called “questionable.”

“It looks like it went through,” he said. “Now my mission as mayor is to make sure we can do this the most economical way for all of Tupper Lake, the village and town.”

The village awaits word on $1.3 million in grant funding expected to cover the rest of the cost.

Should it not come through, the project would not move forward, officials have said.

‘WORST-CASE SCENARIO’

But not only does Maroun have confidence in that funding, he expects to defray the cost through contracting of emergency services to neighboring municipalities.

“I understand a lot of people are concerned” about tax increases, he said. “But we’re going to try to get every grant we can (too).”

As projected now, villagers would pay 33 cents per $1,000 assessed property value for the length of the 30-year bond.

Town taxpayers in the Tupper Lake Fire Protection District, who could not vote on the village project, would pay 17 cents per $1,000.

Villagers pay more, Maroun said, because town taxpayers wouldn’t bear the cost of the Village Police Department part of the facility.

“We have to carve that square footage out of the township,” Maroun said.

He called those tax rates “the worst case scenario,” again emphasizing the effort that will be put forth to reduce the cost.

FINAL DESIGN

The 14,500-square-foot building is priced at $210 per square foot.

It would have a flat roof, a large, shared training room and would be built to Essential Services Building Codes as mandated by New York state in 2005.

The final design comes next, and the village expects to get word on the grant funding in July.

The police station has long been located in the Village Hall basement, where officials say space is cramped and flooding can be an issue.

Also, it lacks handicapped access, there is no separate booking or interview area, and there is no more room for evidence storage.

The fire station served its purpose but is worn out and out of date, the mayor said — very poor accommodations for the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

CENTRAL LOCATION

Tupper Lake Emergency Services Building Committee checked out some 15 possible locations for the facility.

The 2-acre-or-so Santa Clara site, it was decided, fits best because it is centrally located and offers better access for emergency vehicles than the from the Department of Public Works.

Maroun expressed thanks to the committee and all who pitched in to plan the project.

“Rick Donah, commissioner of Fire Department, he was the spearhead of this,” the mayor said.

Email Suzanne Moore:smoore@pressrepublican.com