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Rocky Point Fire District to vote on bonds for firehouse, truck

The North Shore Beach firehouse in Rocky Point,

The North Shore Beach firehouse in Rocky Point, would be replaced with a new substation if Rocky Point Fire District voters approve a proposition on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. Credit: Newsday / Carl MacGowan

Rocky Point Fire District residents will vote Tuesday on a pair of bond propositions totaling $8.5 million to replace an aging firehouse and buy a new fire truck.

Fire district officials said the North Shore Beach substation at 90 King Rd. is cramped and expensive to maintain. They want to demolish the structure, which was built in the 1950s, and build a new one in its place.

Officials also said a new aerial, or bucket, truck is needed to replace a 1997 model that they say is obsolete.

Building the new firehouse would cost $7.25 million; the truck would cost $1.25 million. Both price tags include interest on 20-year bonds.

Approval of both measures would raise taxes about 0.87 percent, or $43.52 a year on a home with an assessed value of $1,600, fire district officials said.

The new two-story building would comprise about 11,422 square feet, about 10 percent more than the current 10,384-square-foot substation.

District manager Ed Brooks said the North Shore Beach firehouse — one of three in the district — does not meet current standards and requires frequent repairs.

“There’s things that pop up all the time,” Brooks said. “There are leaks in the building. The air-conditioning is obsolete — that’s shot.”

The firehouse does not have an elevator, only a staircase that makes it difficult for residents with disabilities to attend functions in a second-floor meeting room, Brooks said. The new building would have an elevator and handicap-accessible bathrooms, he said.

A consultant estimated that renovating the current building would cost at least $3 million. “Renovation is just too expensive . . . and at the end, you still just have an old building,” Brooks said.

If the construction bond is approved, the current firehouse would be demolished next year, with the new one expected to be completed by 2019, Brooks said.

The Rocky Point Fire Department serves 30,000 people over 48 square miles in Rocky Point and neighboring Shoreham. Volunteers respond to about 2,000 emergency calls a year, officials said.

About 50 people attended an informational meeting at the firehouse on Thursday to discuss the propositions. Some said the proposed tax hike seemed reasonable.

“Forty-three dollars a year — that’s a pretty good deal in my book,” Buddy Blake of Rocky Point said.

Some residents said the district should have done more to publicize Tuesday’s vote. Steve Keating, a retired New York City firefighter from Rocky Point, said he only learned about the vote last week.

He said he was not sure how he would vote, adding the proposals have “a lot of merit.”

“I didn’t know this was happening so quick,” he said. “I’m going to do some homework before I vote.”

Voting is from 3 to 9 p.m. Tuesday at the firehouse.

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