Cost to renovate fire station: $1.7M

WILTON — During public hearings on two bond proposals Thursday, voters were accepting of a plan for the town to enter into two bonds, one for improvements to the fire station and the other to replace sections of leaking sewer pipe.

The Budget Committee proposed to bond $935,000 of the total cost of the fire station improvements over 20 years at a 3.5 percent interest rate. The rest of the required funds for the $1.7 million project would come from a capital reserve account.

Two years ago, the Fire Department proposed an addition to the fire station, Fire Chief Ray Dick told the small group of Wilton residents at the public hearing on the bonds Thursday. The estimated cost of the project came in much higher than expected at about $1.7 million. The funds would be used to tear down the second floor and elevator, and add three new bays to the garage, as well as additional office and storage space. “It was the feeling of the committee that the project has been in the works for awhile, and it’s time to do something,” said Budget Committee Chair Carey Hughes.

The Budget Committee considered entering into a bond to pay for the total cost of the renovations and addition, but ultimately decided to lessen the tax burden by using capital reserve funds to pay for a portion of the project, according to Hughes. The committee estimated that with the proposed current bond amount the tax rate would go up 22 cents. If the entire amount of the project were bonded, the tax rate would increase by 39 cents.

Among the improvements that will be made with the funds are the addition of three bays. It would also address several safety concerns, clear out asbestos infestations and update the drainage system.

Also discussed Thursday was a proposed bond to replace two section of sewer line, one between Park Street and Prince Street and the other between Tremont Street and the brook flowing from Carnival Hill.

During repair work done on the sewer last year, it was discovered that damage to the lines was allowing groundwater to infiltrate the lines, increasing the effluent flow through the pump station in Milford. Sewer Commission Chair Jim Tuttle estimated that the leaks had caused up to $40,000 last year in unnecessary fees for sewer users.

The cost for the sewer pipe replacement is an estimated $220,000. The Budget Committee proposes to bond the entire amount over a 10-year period. Payments for the bond are to come from sewer user fees.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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