Saratoga County

Charlton firefighters again propose new station

Potential cost is $83 per $100,000 assessed value
Charlton Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge supports efforts for a new fire station.
Charlton Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge supports efforts for a new fire station.

CHARLTON — The Charlton Fire District will conduct a public meeting on Thursday to discuss plans for a new $4.2 million firehouse at Charlton Road and Peaceable Street.

Firefighters are hoping to overcome past resistance to higher fire taxes — resistance that resulted in the defeat of several previous referendums on plans for new stations, most recently in 2010. The new proposal calls for the district to borrow about $3.7 million for the new station, which would raise the annual property taxes by $83 for a home assessed at $100,000. The remainder of the cost would come from a capital reserve fund, so the exact tax rate increase is not known.

“It’s a whole new team on the commissioners — new people on the Building Committee,” said fire Commissioner Bob LeGere, chairman of the Building Committee. “The whole public is backing us; it’s been going really good.”

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the fire station at 768 Charlton Road. Tentative plans call for a vote on the newest plan to be held Tuesday, March 26, at the fire station.

The current fire station, in the middle of the hamlet, dates from 1922, with some upgrades in the 1950s. It has low ceilings and short bay doors, very narrow spaces between trucks and other issues that firefighters say make it unsuitable for modern firefighting equipment — and potentially unsafe to work in.

“That station is very restrictive from a safety standpoint; it’s really time for a new station,” LeGere said.

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 23-March 1, 2019

Plans for a $3.2 million station were defeated in 2005, and plans for a $2.8 million station were defeated in both January and July of 2010, with both those defeats coming by fewer than 30 votes.

But firefighters said the underlying issues haven’t changed and early last year they began working on new plans, saying the problems with the current facility haven’t changed. There have been several public meetings to discuss options.

The district wants to build on a five-acre property on the south side of Charlton Road near Peaceable Street that it has owned since 2008.

The fire company also says call volumes have been increasing in recent years, with more than 200 calls answered in 2017. An analysis done as part of a new building study found that about half the calls are for medical assistance, and 15 percent are for motor vehicle accidents.

Based on the geographical distribution of calls, the study said the Peaceable Street site is a good location. While it is geographically central, the study found most of the district’s calls are to the suburban subdivision sections of town to the south, so response times are not expected to be significantly different.

In early 2018, the fire district formed a building committee. Working with consultant Hueber Breuer of Syracuse, the committee looked at eight options ranging from renovation and repair of the current station to construction of a station at a new site. Hueber Breuer is the firm that worked with the Burnt Hills Fire District on its new northern station, now under construction on Charlton Road near the Ballston Town Hall.

The committee, which conducted several public meetings, determined construction of a facility at the Charlton Road/Peaceable Street location already owned by the fire district is the best option, according to a study Hueber Breuer completed in November.

The committee’s proposal is for a 9,200-square-foot, steel-framed building that would cost an estimated $4.07 million.

Town Supervisor Alan R. Grattidge said the district has made a stronger effort to get citizens’ input than it did before previous referendums, and he said the town supports the fire district’s efforts. 

“They seriously need a modern facility if they’re going to continue to provide the service that they do,” Grattidge said.

If voters approve the proposal, fire district officials would like to go to bid in late spring and be ready to start construction in August.

Reach Daily Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

More from this week: Our top stories Feb. 23-March 1, 2019


Categories: News, Saratoga County

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