FORT ANN — The West Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Company was seeking the Town Board’s approval last Monday night to build three new bays at their current location on Joe Greene Road because they’ve outgrown the current one.
But the board voted unanimously to reserve decision on the plans, saying they needed more information and time to review the project.
According to Dave DeLor, Fort Ann’s first assistant chief, the garage was built in 1991. Currently, the Company has seven pieces of apparatus for the three-bay garage.
The addition they want to build is double the size.
DeLor said his men aren’t able to easily walk around their emergency fire trucks and have to park some of their equipment outside. He added that if OSHA was to do an inspection, they’d probably fail.
“It’s unacceptable,” DeLor said.
But confusion surrounding the approval process as well as the payments to build the bay caused the Town Board to table the decision.
In January, the fire company was approved a construction loan up to $475,000 from The Bank of Greene County. As a condition to the financing, "a public hearing must be held by the municipality in which the Fire Company is located and said municipality must approve the issuance of tax exempt funds to the Fire Company," according to the resolution the firemen proposed.
The firemen were seeking approval from the board for financing support before approaching the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) for necessary permits.
Before going to the APA for approval, the fire company needs to do surveying and property value estimations, items that could cost up to $22,000, according to the firemen.
The firemen argued that they didn’t want to proceed with their plans and pay for the surveying and the approval from the APA if the Town Board was going to deny it in the future.
Town Supervisor Richie Moore didn’t want to approve the project before the APA approved or denied it.
"The boards' position is that we think they should get the APA approval prior to asking the town to spend any money. Once they have that, then they can address the board about the $475,000," Moore explained Sunday.
"If the APA doesn't approve it, why spend any money up front?" Moore added.
He noted that the $22,000 for the surveying would be part of the $475,000 budget, money that would be paid back through taxes by residents living in the West Fort Ann Fire Company district.
The Company also didn’t have specifics on if their loan has a fixed or variable rate, or if the loan will be a construction or equity loan.
The Company wasn’t reachable for information Friday afternoon.
Moore scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, Feb. 21, at the Fort Ann Volunteer Fire Company location on route 149 at 2 p.m. so additional information can be provided, including the total membership count in the department and a letter stating if for some reason the APA doesn’t issue a permit, that the Company will not seek to be reimbursed for any and all expediters that have to do with the APA and or the banks approval.
“We’re not saying yes. We’re not saying no,” Moore said at the meeting.
"It's in the best interest of everyone that they get the APA's approval first."