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Updated: Voters Approve $2.5 M Katonah Firehouse Renovation

The referendum passed with 65 percent of the vote.

Updated, 9:30 p.m.

Voters in the Katonah fire district tonight approved a referendum granting the Katonah Fire Department authority to proceed with planned renovations to its firehouse.

The proposal passed, 76 to 41.

Fire commissioner Hank Bergson said he appreciated the voters who came out to support the proposed renovations. "We are thankful," he said.

Check back with Patch tomorrow for more on the vote.

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The is asking voters to approve extensive renovations for its firehouse on Bedford Road including stabilizing the 54-year-old floor to support the weight of modern day fire apparatus and make energy efficient improvements.

The referendum vote is May 22, Tuesday night, from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. The referendum seeks voter approval of giving the district authority to spend no more than $3 million on the project; of that sum, $2.5 million will be raised from issuing bonds and the remainder would come from the fire district’s capital reserves.

Fire commissioner Hank Bergson told Patch he was hopeful voters would turn out and approve the measure.

"We have been open and transparent throughout this process," he said. "We had a public meeting at the firehouse and we presented the renovations at the and I think residents are well-informed."

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The fire department announced the renovation plans in March.

About 35 people attended the meeting at the firehouse on April 11, many of whom lived on The Terrace, the street which abuts the firehouse property. Bergson said he felt their questions were answered and hadn't heard any challenges to the fire station's plans.

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 annual increase of about $108 for the average Katonah property owner.

The proposed renovations include installing a replacement generator; 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.

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