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Adams must wait to fund fire hall project

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On June 13, the Adams Planning Board was shown the site plans for the expansion of the Adams Fire Department building. This was the first opportunity the board had to study the architectural drawings and learn of its estimated cost of $1.2 million.

After considerable discussion with Phil Chatteron, a village trustee and fire company volunteer, the Planning Board elected to take no action on the site plan. However, the board expressed its support for the fire company but recommended that the proposed construction be postponed until sometime in the future.

These are tough times for many people living in Adams and in the north country. Fort Drum is downsizing and civilian workers furloughed; this can only add to the county’s unemployment rate of 9 percent. The village Board of Trustees should look at ways to pay down the village’s debt, cut taxes and maintain vital services.

There is still a $234,000 outstanding bond on the Municipal Building, which will not be fully paid until 2018.

New water sources must be found to meet the growing needs of the water district. A two-year search and the expenditure of $158,000 has yet to produce any available, new sources.

The water district extends between the villages of Adams and Adams Center, and the users pay for the service. The cost for a new water source and pumping station is open-ended and could be expensive.

The construction of a new fire hall for the Adams Fire Department should be placed on hold until financial support can be found from grants or other sources. One possibility is to treat fire protection like any other service.

Properties being protected by the fire company could be assessed a fee or be taxed appropriately. The Adams Fire Department is now responsible for a large fire protection district outside the village.

Most of the businesses serving the village are in this district. In fact, on a monthly basis, 75 percent of all fire calls are to locations outside the village.

The towns of Adams, Rodman and Lorraine contribute a total of $36,500 per year to the fire company for equipment. If this new bond issue for the fire hall passes, the village taxpayers will be contributing more than $100,000 a year in new taxes to support the fire company.

On an individual basis, each of an estimated 675 village properties will see new taxes amounting to $1,777 over the life of the bond. It should be noted that the estimated $1.2 million cost of the fire hall does not include paving or site preparation, so this amount could be much higher.

The village trustees should voluntarily place this bond resolution before the electors in a public referendum. This could be held during the next general village election. According to NYCOM’s “Handbook for Village Officials,” they can adopt a resolution submitting the construction project to a referendum, eliminating the need for a petition.

William J. Doe

Richard Bushnell

Arden R. Sharpe

Thomas G. Williams

The authors are members of the Adams Planning Board

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