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New Boston deliberative session leaves $2.51m bond proposal for new fire station unchanged

By Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent

February 06. 2018 11:31PM
The Monday night deliberative session attracted a full house in New Boston. (Melissa Proulx / Union Leader Correspondent)

NEW BOSTON — Residents will consider just over two dozen warrant articles at this year’s town meeting vote, none of which were changed at the Monday night deliberative session.

The big ticket item on the warrant calls for the construction of a new fire station. A $2.51 million bond would be issued for the project, which also contains about $45,000 for the demolition or repurposing of the current fire station.

The bond will be paid over 20 years, with a roughly 3 percent interest rate projected. That means residents will pay approximately 32 cents a day for the next two years, according to Fire Ward Wayne Blassberg.

The current fire station was built in 1973, and attempts to upgrade the facility have been in the works for the last decade. The new station would be built on a piece of land purchased in 2015 by the post office.

Department officials wanted to upgrade the building in order to address health and safety concerns, and issues of space, like some of the equipment just barely fitting through the garage doors of the apparatus bay.

Fire Chief Dan MacDonald said officials are also looking at grant funding to help cover some of the costs of adding new equipment to the station, such as a washer/extractor for firefighting gear.

“We feel pretty confident we’ll get those,” he said.

Many residents said they were in favor of the warrant article and that the new station would bolster safety and recruitment for the department.

Others said they wanted to look at other sources of funding, such as using impact fees.

A similar warrant article was presented last year and failed. Work to build a new station has been underway for just over a decade.

Other warrant articles include:

• A $4.9 million operating budget, which is up $223,701 from last year. The default budget is $4.86 million.

• Authorizing the trustees of the Whipple Free Library to enter into a purchase agreement for solar panels to be pinstalled behind the library to provide power for the facility. There would be an option to purchase the panels after six years.

• Adopting a provision that would provide a property tax exemption for school and municipal taxes for either new businesses or current ones looking to renovate or expand. The exemption would be for 50 percent of the assessed value for any new construction, or added value from addition or renovations to a business.

Voting will be held on March 13 in the New Boston Community School gym.

New Boston Local and County Government

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