Voters in the Selkirk fire district rejected a vote Tuesday night that would have funded a major renovation project for their main fire station and two others.
Firefighters say some of the stations in the district are decades old and pose both health and safety hazard. But voters say the cost of fixing them would have been too high
Over 200 people voted Tuesday, a majority, like Lewis Seavey, voted against the $17.8 m bond proposal for replacements and renovations at three of the fire houses in the Selkirk district.
Seavey said he would rather see big money like that spent on a career department.
Many voters were concerned about the increased taxes that may have come with the proposal.
“You got your finances set up pretty much for the year. And when your taxes go up more than the cost of living does on the social security and your retirements,” said Seavey. “Each year gets tougher and tougher.”
Selkirk firefighters say they know the project would be costly, but necessary.
Bill Asprion/Fire Commissioner Selkirk:
“We’re all taxpayers. We all know it’s a lot of taxpayers. The big number is big,” said Selkirk Fire Commissioner Bill Asprion. “The yearly number is a lot smaller because of the way the bond is set up. We’ve budgeted for a lot of this, so the average homeowner is going to pay approximately $95 per year.”
The department says they would have used the money to fix problems, including firetrucks that barely fit through station doors and exhaust that gets trapped inside buildings. They say breathing in those fumes takes a toll on your health over time, and they had the next generation of firefighters in mind with this proposal.
“We’re working for the next generations. That we protect them, that we look at their health and safety,” said Asprion.
For now, it looks like the few fire stations up for debate will stay as they are.