By: Emily De Vito
Voters in the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District will have to decide Tuesday if they want a new firehouse.
John D’Alessandro who is the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District 1 Fire Commissioner, said there’s structural concerns with their current building. Along with layout problems, asbestos and termite damage.
"You would not design a fire station in anyway like this one was designed," said D’Alessandro. "We're planning not just for today or tomorrow, we're looking at the new fire station to efficiently serve the community for 50 to 75 tears.
Voters will have to approve a $12.3 million bond to build the firehouse.
"Every resident has to ask themselves a simple question, is that a worthwhile investment in the future of public safety in the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire District,” said D’Alessandro. “This station is old and tired. Our call count keeps going up and up and up we're going to break 800 this year."
The new 20,000 square foot building would be built where the current firehouse sits on Middletown Road. More than $9 million would be spent on construction of the firehouse and more than $2 million would be for preparing the site.
If the bond is approved, this could potentially mean an average home in Halfmoon would see an increase in their fire tax of about $14 to $16 a month. In Waterford, an average home would see a $6 to $8 increase a month.
"Build a firehouse that's affordable for the neighborhood, for everybody, not just what you guys feel you want,” said Halfmoon resident Denise Mikol.
Mikol has lived in the fire district for around 30 years. She said what’s frustrating is that ahead of Tuesday’s vote, there were only three public meetings held for residents to get questions answered and give their input.
"Include community,” said Mikol “Does anybody want to get on a committee with us, join us, help us do some research.”
While she and other residents said they don’t question the need for a new firehouse, they said they weren't given enough time to make an informed vote.
"I question the degree of which it's needed,” said resident Kelly Champagne. “And the process by which it was determined, what was needed and the lack of input from the community members and people who will be essentially paying for it.”
The vote takes place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the Halfmoon-Waterford Fire Department on Middletown Road.
For more information from the fire department on the project, click here.