June 29, 2022

$2.4 Million Deep River Firehouse Expansion Project Presented at Town Meeting

DEEP RIVER— The $2.4 million expansion plan for the main firehouse on the corner of Union and Elm streets received a favorable response from residents at a town meeting Thursday as it heads to a bonding referendum vote on July 13.

About 30 residents turned out Thursday to discuss the plans for the 1961 firehouse. A more costly $3.8 million expansion project was rejected by a wide margin of votes in a November 2007 referendum.

Bob Raymond, chairman of the volunteer fire department’s building committee, said the group got the message from the earlier vote and scaled back the project to reduce the total cost. The expansion would add about 7,000 square-feet of new space, including an 1,500 square-feet of unfinished space in an attic area.

The plan would add a vehicle bay and a meeting/training room. Raymond said the expansion would meet the department’s needs for decades to come. “It will give us additional apparatus space and some elbow room,” he said.

Several residents expressed support for the project. John Kennedy said he was “100 percent in favor of it this time,”. Kennedy noted that he had opposed the larger expansion plan in 2007, the year he ran an unsuccessful campaign for first selectman on the Deep River Independent Party line.

The bonds for the project would be paid off over 20 years. First Selectman Richard Smith said the largest impact on the tax rate would occur in the 2012-2013 fiscal year, when the payment would add up to three-tenths of a mill to the tax rate. The annual payment on the bond would decrease in subsequent years ending in 2032.

Smith said all of the financial projections for the bonding are “very conservative,” and suggested the town is likely to secure a lower interst rate that would allow for lower annual payments. Smith said there is “no way” the total cost of the project would exceed $2.4 million, and suggested the project could be completed at a lower total cost.

The referendum will be conducted on July 13 from 12 noon to 8 p.m. at the regular election polling place in the community room of the Deep River Public Library.