The Lakeside Fire District is proposing a $6.2 million project to build and furnish a new firehouse to replace Fire Station #1 on State Fair Boulevard.
The firehouse built in 1949 is showing its age, according to fire department officials. They say the sprinkler system doesn’t work, the furnace is on the fritz, heavy modern day firefighting equipment has cracked the floor, sewer gas backs up into the building from the floor drains and there isn’t enough room to maneuver around the trucks.
“It’s pretty much outlived its usefulness,” said Stephen Erwin, one of the district’s fire commissioners.
Taxpayers in the 10-square-mile district that includes Geddes, Camillus and parts of Van Buren will be asked to approve the project in a vote on Aug. 12. If they approve their fire district taxes will nearly double.
The new fire station will cost taxpayers $1.20 per $1,000 of assessed value or $120 for a home assessed at $100,000, fire commissioners said. Taxpayers currently pay $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed value. The total tax bill would rise to $260 a year on a $100,000 property if the fire station is approved.
The station on State Fair Boulevard was built 65 years ago, with additions built in 1955 and 1987.
The 35 firefighters in the Lakeside Fire Department answer about 800 calls a year, Eriwn said. State statistics show that the department’s calls ranged from 763 in 2102, the last date available, to a high of 867calls in 2010.
That compares with 431 calls answered by the nearby Camillus Fire Department in 2012 and 915 answered by the Baldwinsville Fire Department.
Lakeside’s coverage district includes 5 miles of the New York State Thruway and portions of I-690, as well as rural farms, commercial buildings and homes.
A fire district is its own governmental entity, sort of like a school district. Commissioners are elected and taxes collected to pay for the firehouse, the equipment and operation of the fire department.
Lakeside’s commissioners began to consider building a new firehouse in 2008 or 2009. They looked at putting on yet another addition at a cost of about $4.5 million, but that wouldn’t have solved the problems, like the cracking floors, that would remain in the older building, Erwin said.
The cost spread over a 15-year bond was more expensive than spending $6.2 million and bonding for 25 to 30 years, he said.
How does Lakeside’s plan compare with other recently built fire stations in Central New York? The plan comes in the middle. Skaneateles opened a $4.8 million station in 2008, while DeWitt opened a $6.9 million station the same year.
Lakeside plans to demolish the current fire station and operate out of an empty commercial building or a large tent while the new station is built.
The new building would be repositioned on the current property on State Fair Boulevard to allow fire trucks to enter through garage doors at one end of the station and exit through doors at the other end. It would end the need to back trucks across the busy road into the station.
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