The has planned extensive renovations for its firehouse on Bedford Road including stabilizing the 54-year-old floor to support the weight of heavier apparatus and making the building more energy efficient.
"As with any structure over 50 years old, there comes a time when major repairs and structural rehabilitation need to be accomplished," said Fire Commissioner Hank Bergson in a press release announcing the upgrades.
"Our proposed renovations will provide our department with needed facilities, renovations, and repairs that will allow us to continue providing the high level of community service and protection Katonah residents have come to expect."
Other alterations include expanding the chief’s office and dispatch room to accommodate increased demands for office space, computers, and files; painting the interior; resurfacing the blacktop driveway and parking lot and expanding the annex building for required training and the storage of the district’s rescue boat and the historic 1928 American LaFrance pumper.
The firehouse, built in 1958 at the site of the old Katonah High School, underwent one 60-foot expansion in 1997 to accommodate larger fire apparatus required by regulations. Bergson said the newly proposed repairs and annex alterations will meet all-new safety, training, and regulatory requirements and are in part, the result of new unfunded state mandates for training and equipment.
If approved, construction would start this summer and potentially be completed by the end of the year.
Registered voters in the Katonah Fire District will be able to have their say on the proposal at a public referendum to be scheduled after the public information meeting. Voters will be asked to give the district authority to expend no more than $3,000,000, of which approximately $2,500,000 million will be raised by issuing bonds with a 10-year maturity. The remainder will come from the fire district’s capital reserves.
The estimated increased cost to an individual Katonah property owner will be about $1.42 per $1,000 of assessed value, which translates to an increase of about $108.12 per tax year for the average Katonah property owner.
Organized in 1874, the all-volunteer Katonah Fire Department currently has over 75 active members providing fire protection for a 14 square mile area with six pieces of fire apparatus: a mini-attack truck, three pumpers, a tanker, and a rescue truck. The department also maintains and houses a rescue
boat, 2 utility vehicles, an 1874 hand pumper, and a 1928 American LaFrance pumper.