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Guilderland Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, Ocotober 27, 2011

Firehouse vote trounced

By Anne Hayden

The Pine Grove Fire District’s $3.5 million expansion proposal was voted down, 200 to 68, on Tuesday night.

“We were optimistic that it would pass, but it got shot down,” said Commissioner Herb LeTarte yesterday. He said that there had been no negative comments from any of the roughly 25 district residents to attend a public hearing last week.

The district, which mainly covers Rotterdam and Princetown, serves a total of 1,785 houses; nearly 13 percent of those houses are in Guilderland.

LeTarte said the reasons the station, at 144 Dunnsville Road in Rotterdam, needed to expand were the outdated equipment and safety issues. The expansion would have included a drive-through apparatus bay, extra space for offices and a community room, and updates of the bathrooms and building entrances to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Acts.

If the bond had been approved, it would have taken 25 years to pay off, and, with an interest rate of 4,65 percent, the tax increase on the average assessed home in the district would have been approximately $155.

“Maybe everyone is just sick of taxes in general,” said LeTarte this week.

So far this year, the district has responded to over 200 calls, 60 of which were related to Tropical Storm Irene. The district had to use sand bags to keep flood waters out of its lower bays and utility room during the storm, and, if the expansion had been approved, those areas would have been brought up above the 500-year-storm level.

“I don’t know what our next step will be,” concluded LeTarte. “We had put all of our energy into this project, so we will have to discuss the next move among the board of commissioners.”

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