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February 14. 2013 8:05PM

Milton firefighters ask residents to support a $2.7 million new station


In March, Milton firefighters hope residents will approve a $2.7 million bond to build a new station on Route 125 property donated to the town with the specific purpose of being the site of a station. (JOHN QUINN/Union Leader Correspondent)

MILTON - Most anyone who has toured the town's fire station can see how the department has almost outgrown the old building.

If approved by a three-fifths majority Article 2 would allow the town to acquire for a $2.7 million bond to build a new fire station and appropriate $229,331 for the first year's interest payment on the bond.

In between wintertime fun this weekend, firefighters invite residents to visit the station at 460 White Mountain Highway, Route 125 and ask questions about the warrant article from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

If approved, the estimated tax impact would be 63 cents per $1,000 of valuated property. The interest payments are estimated to cost $218,363 in the 2015 fiscal year, $213,975 in 2016 and $209,588 in 2017.

Fire Chief Nick Marique said firefighters and the town hope to take advantage of low interest rates and the sluggish economy, which ensures contractors are hungry for work. Marique said most of the information about the station, key questions and the need to replace it is available at www.miltonfirestation.com. But Marique said "it's much easier to have people come down" so they can ask specific questions and address their concerns.

If the bond passes Marique said construction on the new station could start in late summer on the property donated by Herbert Downs. He added the donation specified that the land could only be used for a fire station as long as one was built within seven years.

Marique said the town has four more years to take advantage of the opportunity.

Between 2007 and 2009, three proposals to renovate, replace or relocate the existing fire station failed to meet a three-fifths majority at the polls. Marique said this year it will also be difficult to get enough votes to reach the required 60 percent super majority. He said that as taxpayers themselves, firefighters understand the financial aspects of the bond, but see this as an investment in the town's future.

Assistant Fire Chief Devon Pageau said no one spoke against the proposal when residents discussed the fire station bond and other municipal matters during the deliberative session Sunday.

"They don't realize how bad it is until they see it," Pageau said.

The station's cramped quarters prevent the department from

purchasing certain vehicles and the building is also filled with dust from old forms of insulation when the structure served as a horse barn two centuries ago and moisture in the basement.

Polls are scheduled to be open March 12 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Emma Ramsey Center along Route 125.


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