NY fire department seeks approval for $10 million station

The original $12.3 million project, which was rejected in November, will return for a referendum on Tuesday, May 7, at a reduced price tag of $10.7 million


Wendy Liberatore
Times Union, Albany, N.Y.

WATERFORD — The Halfmoon-Waterford Fire district is going back to the voters for approval of a new multi-million dollar fire station on Middletown Road.

The original $12.3 million project, which was rejected in November, will return for a referendum on Tuesday, May 7, at a reduced price tag of $10.7 million. The revised proposal, which requires the fire district to borrow the full amount, is expected to cost the average homeowner between $57 and $99 a year in taxes. The rejected proposal was to cost an average of $75 to $130 a year, based on a home with an assessed value of $150,000.

The revised proposal, which requires the fire district to borrow the full amount, is expected to cost the average homeowner between $57 and $99 a year in taxes. (Photo/Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District Facebook)
The revised proposal, which requires the fire district to borrow the full amount, is expected to cost the average homeowner between $57 and $99 a year in taxes. (Photo/Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District Facebook)

"The updated fire station proposal is based on the public comments that we received over the course of four public information meetings, and from numerous meetings, e-mails, and telephone calls with residents," Fire Commissioner John D'Alessandro said.

The fire district has been exploring updating its old station for the past seven years because the current station No. 1 on Middletown Road is "too small, inefficient and does not meet the current building codes, accessibility standards and response requirements."

Fire officials said the current bays cannot accommodate modern apparatus and that structure is plagued by termites and mold. There is also asbestos and a crack in the building.

D'Alessandro also said the new facility will reduce workplace hazards, because the current station does not meet health and safety standards from the Americans with Disabilities Act, OSHA and FEMA. It also, he said, will ensure the station has adequate decontamination facilities. He said the proposal does not include funding for emergency vehicles, tools or gear.

Critics, however, say that the new station is still too costly. They point to the new station in Round Lake that was built for $3.7 million and the new station just approved by voters in Charlton, which will cost $4.2 million. In 2017, Burnt Hills Fire Department approved a $3.2 million station.

D'Alessandro disagreed, saying the new plans are suitable for its needs.

"The current site was deemed to be the smartest and most economical option that will allow us to continue to provide the residents the fire, rescue, and emergency services they deserve," D'Alessandro said.

For the revised plan, the district's building committee reduced the size of the new station by 11 percent from 20,500 square-feet to 18,300 square-feet. The committee also eliminated the community room, decreased the size of the kitchen and rotated the orientation of the station so that it would require less site work.

The current station, one of two in the fire district, was built in 1961 and expanded in 1988. The second station is situated on Hudson River Road in Halfmoon.

The all-volunteer company, its website indicates, responds to about 800 emergency calls a year in a 14-mile radius.

Approval of the bond, D'Alessandro said, "will allow our volunteer firefighters to properly meet the growing fire, rescue and emergency service needs of our community."

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©2019 the Times Union (Albany, N.Y.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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