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Center Moriches residents to vote on $11.7M firehouse bond

A rendering of what the Center Moriches firehouse

A rendering of what the Center Moriches firehouse would look like if voters approve an $11.7 million bond proposition on Feb. 27, 2018 is seen in here. Credit: Center Moriches Fire District

Center Moriches fire officials are asking voters to approve an $11.7 million bond proposition that would pay for an expansion of the department’s firehouse.

Fire district officials are proposing to reconstruct the west wing of the two-story firehouse and add a new east wing to expand truck bays and provide more space for offices and a radio room.

The plan, if approved by voters, would increase taxes about 33 percent, from $21.50 per $100 of assessed home value to about $29.25, officials said. Polls will be open 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. next Tuesday at the firehouse, 301 Main St. in Center Moriches.

The firehouse, originally constructed in the 1940s, was expanded in the 1970s, officials added.

Fire officials said call volume has increased by about 500 calls annually over the past decade. Meanwhile, the firehouse is not large enough to accommodate larger trucks required by federal and fire industry codes, officials said.

Officials said trucks barely fit into the firehouse’s bays, despite ambulances custom-made to enter narrow passages. Officials said the smaller chassis soon will be discontinued by the manufacturer.

Officials said they also are required to make the building more accessible to those with disabilities.

Officials said it is difficult for disabled people to use the building’s second floor because the original section does not match the section built in 1973. That would be corrected by the renovation, they said.

The proposal calls for the firehouse’s western section to be rebuilt, with the upper section to be used for offices. A new section on the east side would include truck bays and the radio room.

The cost of the bond includes $9.25 million in construction costs, $1.4 million for engineering fees, bond costs and other charges, and a $1.062 million contingency fee to cover cost overruns.

District officials said rebuilding the existing firehouse would be cheaper than building a new facility. They said they plan to re-use existing infrastructure, such as the elevator and boiler.

They said they also plan to use a combination of masonry and wide-plank siding because it would be cheaper than masonry alone.

“We worked hard to keep costs down,” said Commissioner Richard Primus. “The board would never consider a new building because it’s not cost effective or beneficial to district taxpayers. The proposed renovation gives us the modern facility the community needs without the extra cost.”

District officials will host public discussions of the bond proposal at 7 p.m. Wednesday and 7 p.m. Thursday, at the firehouse.

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