Cloudy
48°
Cloudy
Hi 56° | Lo 45°

Hopkinton votes Saturday on $3 million fire station renovation

  • Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam climbed on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam climbed on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook. As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Joseph Bewersforf, 5, lays on one of the bunks at the Hopkinton Fire Department as his mother Jennifer watches while they toured the building during an open house on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Joseph Bewersforf, 5, lays on one of the bunks at the Hopkinton Fire Department as his mother Jennifer watches while they toured the building during an open house on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Alain Breault, left, and Craig Barrett chat at an open house at the Hopkinton Fire Department's Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  The current station is crammed and things like exercise equipment and lawn mowers are stored in between trucks.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Alain Breault, left, and Craig Barrett chat at an open house at the Hopkinton Fire Department's Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook. The current station is crammed and things like exercise equipment and lawn mowers are stored in between trucks.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Owen O'Brien, 10, climbed up the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Owen O'Brien, 10, climbed up the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook. As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Madyson List, 7,walks past the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Madyson List, 7,walks past the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook. As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam pose for a photo on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

    Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam pose for a photo on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014. Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook. As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door.

    (ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

  • Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam climbed on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Joseph Bewersforf, 5, lays on one of the bunks at the Hopkinton Fire Department as his mother Jennifer watches while they toured the building during an open house on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Alain Breault, left, and Craig Barrett chat at an open house at the Hopkinton Fire Department's Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  The current station is crammed and things like exercise equipment and lawn mowers are stored in between trucks.<br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Owen O'Brien, 10, climbed up the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Madyson List, 7,walks past the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck as firefighter suits dried on a line during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door and the department has a washing machine but no dryer.  <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)
  • Owen O'Brien, 10, left, and his brother Liam pose for a photo on top of the Hopkinton Fire Department's ladder truck during an open house at the Contoocook station on Sunday, March 2, 2014.  Up for vote at the Hopkinton town meeting is the expansion of the fire department building in Contoocook.  As the station is built, the ladder truck has inches to spare through the garage door. <br/><br/>(ARIANA van den AKKER / Monitor staff)

The equipment can’t be safely cleaned in-house, the building doesn’t meet ADA requirements, and there is not space to hold certification trainings. Those are a few of the problems at the Contoocook Fire Station, said Chief Doug Mumford.

On Saturday, residents will consider a nearly $3 million addition to the building that will help solve those issues and “provide adequate space to have more community services operate out of fire department,” said chairman of the select board Jim O’Brien.

The proposed renovation will add a second floor to the existing facility, where trainings can be held, and an additional bay to store equipment, he said. It will up the square footage of the building to 16,500 square feet from the current 5,600. The board of selectmen decided on a renovation to modernize the current station, as opposed to constructing a brand new building because it’s more cost effective, said Mumford.

If the building passes, the tax impact in the first year will be an increase of 43 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. The first payment won’t be until the 2015 fiscal year, and there will be no tax impact the first year.

Cost is the biggest concern Mumford has heard from residents. “I have yet to hear anyone say we don’t need it.”

O’Brien said the renovation is an investment in an essential service and the price is not going to decrease over time. “This is not a Taj Mahal,” he said. “It gives us what we need.”

Right now if residents come into the station for medical needs, to get their blood pressure checked for example, they have to get it done in the kitchen. There is no private space for those consultations, said O’Brien.

The firefighters don’t have a way to safely decontaminate their personal protective equipment, said Mumford. That gear has a life expectancy of 10 years, but since it is currently stored in the station’s main bay due to a lack of space, it is susceptible to exhaust and other elements and will last only five years.

The station was originally built in 1974 with the intention to add a second story within 20 years, said Town Administrator Neal Cass. “Here we are at 40 years, it was lost in the shuffle, other things took priority,” he said.

It’s the fourth year in a row the station has been on the town warrant. Voters first approved a fire station building committee, the next year residents gave the go ahead to spend $15,000 for conceptual plans and last year they approved $25,000 to move forward with the proposal.

∎ Budget: $5.9 million, an increase of roughly $195,000, or 3.4 percent. The increase was driven by retirement spending and the first payment on the town’s new highway garage, said O’Brien. Voters approved construction on the project, a replacement for town’s garage that burned down, at last year’s town meeting. The tax impact of the budget is 16 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value. If all the warrant items are passed, they will offset the tax impact by one cent, bringing the total impact of the entire warrant to 15 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value, a 2.94 percent increase.

The budget figure doesn’t include an amendment for an additional $51,700 to be used on snow removal that the selectmen will propose from the floor. Within the first two months of winter, the highway crew has already gone over budget on salt, sand and overtime. That proposed amendment will increase the tax impact by an additional 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value.

∎ Other warrant articles: “It is the shortest warrant we have had in a number of years,” said Town Administrator Neal Cass. Voters will consider a petition article to repeal the “pay by bag” program, for the fourth year since the program was instituted. “The first year it was very close, but each year the margin to keep it has grown,” Cass said.

∎ Town meeting: Saturday, 9 a.m., Hopkinton Middle/High School Gymnasium, 297 Park Ave.

Legacy Comments2

Must be something in the water. All of a sudden all these Fire Dept's are unfit or to small for there trucks.

tax and spend democrats - that is not news - that is tradition

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.