Warrant Article 6 - Construction of a New Fire Station

INTRODUCING - WARRANT ARTICLE WEDNESDAY!

We are excited to announce that The Hudson Fire Department – FY 2018 Warrant Article 6 – Construction of a New Fire Station will be on the ballot in March 2017.

Starting 11/16 and every Wednesday leading up to the March election we will be providing you with information and opportunities to learn more about the current state of the Burns Hill Fire Station and why it is necessary to build a new station to take its place. Our goal is to provide you with the information you need in order to make an informed decision when you head to the polls and vote in March. If you have a question on any of the information posted please email Erika LaRiviere - Executive Coordinator at elariviere@hudsonnh.gov

WARRANT ARTICLE 6 - CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FIRE STATION

11/16/16 - After analyzing several different funding options, this particular funding program to build a new Fire Station was approved as the best option while limiting the impact it will have on you, the taxpayer.

On March 14, 2017 you will have the opportunity to vote on the warrant article which will read as follows:

Shall the Town of Hudson vote to raise and appropriate the sum of $2,900,000 for the design and construction of a new Fire Station on Town-owned land located on Lowell Road, with the sum of $2,100,000 to come from unassigned fund balance and the balance of $800,000 to be raised from general taxation? This will be a non-lapsing appropriation per RSA 32:7, VI and will not lapse until the Fire Station is completed or June 30, 2023, whichever is sooner.

What does that mean & what will it cost the taxpayer?

The price to build the new Fire Station is budgeted at $2,900,000. If the warrant article passes, $2,100,000 will be used from existing funds that are in the Town’s unassigned fund balance. The remaining $800,000 will be raised by a one-time increase in taxes to you, the taxpayer. Based on the average home value of $265,000 and the impact on the tax rate of .30 per thousand, the cost to the average homeowner will be a one-time increase of $79.50.

If passed, the new Fire Station will be built to replace the existing Burns Hill Fire Station.

WHY WAS THE LOCATION AT 204 LOWELL ROAD SELECTED TO BUILD THE NEW FIRE STATION?

11/23/16 - Selecting the right piece of property is one of the most important decisions that needs to be determined when constructing a new fire station. Where it is located directly affects how it provides emergency services to the community. Here are a few reasons why this particular location was selected:

An improved response time in District 4. Meaning, we will be able to reach a larger number of homes in a shorter amount of time. Over 300 households in this district will benefit from a response time within 5 minutes from the new location on Lowell Road. When an emergency occurs, every second counts.

In addition to District 4, there will also be an improved response time town wide when covering one of the other districts. The location on Lowell Road will allow them to reach areas outside of their district in a shorter amount of time.

This is Town owned property. No additional monies would need to be spent purchasing land for the new station. This provides a substantial savings to the Town.

This location would provide the new station with Town of Hudson water, sewer and a natural gas heating system. This will afford us the opportunity to not have to maintain any private systems on the property.

WHY NOT RENOVATE THE BURNS HILL STATION INSTEAD OF BUILDING A NEW STATION?

11/30/16- The proposed new fire station at 204 Lowell Road will be replacing the existing station located at 88 Burns Hill Road.

The Burns Hill Station resides on property that is not ideal for an expansion. Expansion to the left is difficult with the wetlands, septic tank and leach field on that portion of the property. Expansion in the rear is not possible due to the existing property line. Expansion in the front is not an option due to its proximity to the road. Expansion to the right is possible, but it comes at a substantial cost that still does not assist the Hudson Fire Department’s mission of reducing response times in District 4.

A renovation to the Burns Hills Station will cost around 2.4 million dollars. Extensive costs would go into a sewer pumping station, sewer extension and a water main extension. Response times would not change and no additional homes will receive a faster response.

With that, we feel that the investment would be better made in building a new station. The proposed new station at 204 Lowell Road will improve response times, providing an additional 300+ homes with a response time within five minutes. A new station will also provide the department with a modern facility complete with the appropriate space and firematic support that a fire station should have.

HOW DOES THE MOVE TO 204 LOWELL ROAD BETTER CONTRIBUTE TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS DEPLOYMENT PLAN?

12/7/16- As an organization our vision statement is: “To empower our organization with the knowledge, abilities and resources to meet the ever changing challenges that face our community.”

We are faced with many challenges. As the town continues to develop, so does the increase in calls for emergency services. District 4 (South Hudson) area has seen tremendous change since the Burns Hill Station was built in 1981. This growth has in turn caused an increase in requests for service to that area.

Currently the Burns Hill Station answers approximately 1,000 emergency calls per year.

Over 90% of those calls impact Lowell Road at one of two locations. Either the Pelham Road/Lowell Road or Wason Road/Lowell Road intersections.

Specifically at the Wason Road/Lowell Road intersection we activate the traffic control system and force any of the traffic from Wason Road out onto Lowell Road.

Based on the areas with the highest call volume, our deployment plan centers around the number of homes we can reach from when a call comes in to when we arrive on scene within five minutes.

Out of all municipal buildings, a fire station is the only one that needs to be location driven. As we plan for timely and efficient coverage, the move to the location at 204 Lowell Road will afford us the opportunity to increase the number of homes that are reachable in District 4. This move will increase our ability to reach an additional 300+ homes while affording our staff a facility that will provide them with the appropriate space and resources to effectively and safely perform their job.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE CURRENT ISSUES OF CONCERN AT THE BURNS HILL STATION?

12/14/16 - The Burns Hill Station was built in 1981 to be used by members of the Call Department on an as needed basis. The original design was not built to function as a station that would be fully staffed and open 24/7, 365 days a year as it is today.

An ambulance, Engine 4 and a reserve engine are housed at this station. The apparatus bay area is tight with minimal room between the gear racks and the apparatus. When a call comes in and personnel need to put on their gear and load up the apparatus, the space constraints do not allow everyone to move freely through the area and get ready as quickly as they could if provided with adequate room. There is also no room to move safely between the front of the apparatus and the bay doors as there are a mere inches between them.

From a safety standpoint, if the entry door is not locked, anyone can walk right into the main quarters which is a combined kitchen/day room. This is not only a safety issue for those on duty, but also for someone entering and unfamiliar with the surroundings. Additionally, there are no fire sprinklers installed at this station.

There is one small office equipped with a computer that is shared by everyone on duty to complete the necessary paperwork required by each member after every call. In addition, they are also required to stay up to date with emails, policies, procedures and training and utilize this computer for that as well.

There is one restroom functioning as a bathroom and shower facility consisting of a toilet, urinal and shower that is shared between the male and female firefighters.

The bunk room is an area separated by a set a lockers for each individual’s space. There is no privacy in the bunk room area shared by the male and female firefighters.

The fitness area is located at the rear of the station, behind the apparatus right near the hot water heater, oil tank and high voltage electrical. Neither the size of the space, the location or the air quality in this area is ideal for any sort of exercise.

The proposed new station at 204 Lowell Road will eliminate these issues as it will be built with the adequate space and facilities needed to run safely and efficiently.

WHAT IS A GEAR/DECONTAMINATION ROOM AND WHY IS THE EXISTING ONE AT THE BURNS HILL STATION INSUFFICIENT?

12/21/16 - In a study completed in late 2015, conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, it was determined that Firefighters showed higher rates of certain types of cancer than the general U.S. population.

Often referred to as turnout gear, bunker gear or personal protective equipment (PPE), once contaminated, those contaminates are easily spread to the apparatus and the fire station if not properly cleaned. In addition to contaminates from fires, emergency response calls can also result in exposure to infectious diseases.

With that, it is imperative that their PPE are both properly cleaned and stored. Currently the Burns Hill Station DOES NOT HAVE a separate gear/decontamination room or a washer and extractor to properly clean their gear and protective apparel. These machines are specifically designed for washing and drying protective apparel. They must make an extra trip over to the Leonard A. Smith Central Fire Station to have their gear cleaned. Their gear at the Burns Hill Station is currently stored on a set of racks open to the apparatus bay and just outside their living quarters.

The proposed new station will have a room designed for decontamination and storage which will be separate from the living quarters. Clean and decontaminated gear is a firefighter health and safety issue and as a department we need to improve their ability to properly launder and dry that gear.

We incorporated into the recent renovation to the Leonard A. Smith Central Fire Station a new gear/decontamination room. The room was just completed. It was previously an open area on the apparatus bay floor and is now its own room in the rear of the station. We are currently in the process of moving into this space.

IF THE WARRANT ARTICLE IS PASSED, WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND WHEN WILL THE NEW STATION BE BUILT AND READY FOR OPERATION?

12/28/16 - On Tuesday, March 14, 2017, you the voter, will cast your vote that will ultimately decide if Warrant Article I – Construction of a New Fire Station passes or fails. With high hopes that it passes, we are getting ready now so we will be prepared to immediately get started to get the project under way. We wanted to give you an understanding of what will happen after the vote, provided it passes, so you are aware of the processes that will take place to start construction on building the new fire station.

The Town of Hudson has established purchasing policies for projects of this nature which directs us as we look ahead to the construction of the new fire station.

First, the project needs to be finalized and placed in a bid format. Advertising is then scheduled which will specify the date that vendors have to submit their bid proposals for the project. Once that deadline has expired, a formal bid opening is held. The sealed bids are opened by the Town Clark and reviewed by the building committee. Interviews are then conducted with vendors to review their proposals and to make sure the building committee has a clear understanding of them.

After the interviews and a final review of the proposals, a decision is made and that motion for recommendation is presented to the Board of Selectman at one of their monthly meetings for final approval. Once the Board of Selectman approves the recommendation, purchase orders are created. The purchase orders are routed for signatures and once complete, contracts are signed and the vendor receives the official go ahead to begin the project.

We anticipate those parts of the process to be completed by the end of May, beginning of June 2017. Once construction begins, we anticipate it to take a full 12 months until the station is officially opened.

2017 is gearing up to be an exciting time here at the Hudson Fire Department. We appreciate the support and the opportunity for the open dialogue with you, the community.

HOW MANY HOUSEHOLDS WILL SEE A FASTER RESPONSE TIME FROM THE PROPOSED NEW LOCATION AT 204 LOWELL ROAD?

1/4/17 - The new location is better suited to achieving the department’s deployment plan expectations as it will increase the amount of households and parcels that we can reach within a shorter amount of time.

307 additional households will benefit from a 5 minute response from the new location at 204 Lowell Road. That would bring the total households to 3,433.

191 additional parcels of land will also be accessible in that 5 minute response time. This will bring the total parcels of land to 2,539.

WHAT DETERMINES WHETHER OR NOT THE NEW STATION IS BUILT?

1/11/17 --- 8 more weeks until Election Day!

On Tuesday, March 14, 2017 the town elections will be held. The warrant article, Construction of a New Fire Station will be on the ballot.

The warrant article must pass for the new station to be built. In order for the warrant article to pass, there needs to be a simple majority voting yes.

A simple majority of the vote would be 50% of the total votes plus 1 voting YES. If the votes are less than that, then the warrant article fails and the new station would not be built.

WHAT IS AN EMS STORAGE ROOM AND WHY IS THE EXISTING ONE AT THE BURNS HILL FIRE STATION INSUFFICIENT?

1/18/17 - At the Burns Hill Station the existing EMS storage room is four drawer filing cabinet housed within the bunk room area. An EMS storage room contains all the supplies that you would find on an ambulance. This would include items such as backboards, stretchers, bandages, air way supplies, gloves, needles, IV supplies, oxygen bottles, collars and masks. Due to the lack of space, the filing cabinet is what they have which does not allow them to stock everything they need at the station. In order for the ambulance to be properly stocked it is necessary for them to make a trip out of District 4 over to the Central Fire Station located in District 2 to re-stock. This trip creates extra wear on the ambulance and pulls personnel and the ambulance out of their District while this is completed.

If Warrant Article 6 passes, a new fire station will be built at 204 Lowell Road. This new fire station will have an EMS storage room which will eliminate the need for an extra trip and allow personnel to replenish those ambulance supplies directly from the new station.

WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF A MECHANICAL ROOM AND WHY IS THE EXISTING ONE AT BURNS HILL INSUFFICIENT?

1/25/17- The Fire Department uses a variety of tools and equipment in their day to day duties. Unfortunately, these items break and/or require maintenance which is completed by personnel in house whenever possible. In addition, when tools and equipment are out of service, they need to be stored in an area and not left out creating a hazard or confusion with a properly working tool with one that is not. These tools include items such as rakes, shovels, axes, chain saws and gas monitors. A mechanical room is used to store and repair items such as these.

Currently, the Burns Hill Station does not have the space to accommodate a mechanical room. When tools and/or equipment are out of service and need to be repaired it is necessary for personnel to make a trip out of District 4 over to the Central Fire Station located in District 2. This takes personnel and the vehicle they are driving away from the station and out of the District. The Burns Hill Station does have a small workbench, however it is not sufficient. In addition, due to the lack of space they cannot store the tools that are needed to make said repairs. Currently they are utilizing tools from a toolbox located on the fire apparatus.

The proposed new fire station at 204 Lowell Road will have a mechanical room. This room will be set up with the proper space and tools to make repairs and conduct routine maintenance. The room will also be able to accommodate a flammable cabinet which is used to store a variety of flammable products such as antifreeze, oils and lubricating sprays. This will allow personnel to remain at the station to make these repairs on site, and not make the extra trip to and from the Central Fire Station.

WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE REGARDING WARRANT ARTICLE 6 – CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FIRE STATION

2/1/17-ONLY SIX MORE WEEKS UNTIL ELECTION DAY!

Over the past 12 weeks we have been providing you with information that we felt would be beneficial for you to know regarding the current state of the Burns Hill Fire Station and why we feel that it is time to construct a new Fire Station at 204 Lowell Road to take its place.

Now, we would like to hear from you! Is there anything we haven’t covered that you would like answers to? Now is your chance to get those answers. All questions will be answered in next week’s Warrant Article Wednesday post on 2/8. You can submit your questions by sending an email to our Executive Coordinator, Erika LaRiviere at elariviere@hudsonnh.gov

We look forward to hearing from you and continuing the dialogue on Warrant Article 6. Please email your questions by Tuesday, February 7th in order for them to be included in next week’s post. Thank you!

LAST WEEK WE ASKED - WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE REGARDING WARRANT ARTICLE 6 CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FIRE STATION?

2/8/17 - Election day is only 5 weeks away!

Although we received no questions, we did receive some posts of support and that is always appreciated. We again would like to thank everyone for their interest and for taking the time to read, like, comment and share our posts.

The time is now! This project has been three years in the making. When the project was originally proposed to the voters back on the ballot in March 2015, the price tag was at 2.1 million. It failed to pass and as construction costs increased it was re-introduced on the ballot in March 2016 for just over 2.2 million. Again, it failed to pass and the project price was re-evaluated as costs continue to rise. The proposal for the new station is now 2.9 million and will go to the ballot for the 3rd time on March 14, 2017. We are hopeful that this third time it will pass and we can get this project underway.

At this time, the 2.9 million encompasses both the hard and soft costs. The “hard costs” consist of the labor and materials needed to construct the fire station. The “soft costs” consist of items such as fixtures, furniture, equipment, appliances and professional fees.

Time is of the essence as each passing year brings about greater expenses as costs for goods and services increase. We appreciate your support and are hopeful that in a few more weeks we will be able to begin this exciting new chapter in the history of the Hudson Fire Department.

ONLY FOUR MORE WEEKS UNTIL ELECTION DAY! WHERE DID THE INITIAL DESIGN FOR THE NEW STATION DEVELOP FROM?

2/15/17 - In 2010 the Town of Londonderry, NH began construction on a new Fire Station. Being in such a close proximity, this afforded us the ability to visit the station when discussion of building a new station here in Hudson began back in 2014. The design of their new station encompassed all the appropriate spaces for what we wanted in the construction of a new station which would be built to replace the existing Burns Hill Station. We are hopeful that Warrant Article 6 passes so we can begin the construction process. While the plans for the new station are not finalized, this photo from the Londonderry’s Station One will give you an idea of the direction we are going with the design. You can view the photo by clicking HERE.

ONLY 20 MORE DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY! EVERY VOTE COUNTS, PLEASE BE SURE TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH. WHAT WILL THE PROPOSED NEW FIRE STATION INCLUDE THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM THE BURNS HILL STATION?

2/22/17 - The proposed new fire station at 204 Lowell Road will bring a much needed facility which will afford the department the proper storage and space that a 24/7 emergency services operation needs to operate safely and efficiently.

We have attached a comparison chart to highlight the major differences between the existing Burns Hill Station and the proposed new station that would replace it.

View the comparison chart here.

ONLY 13 MORE DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY!

3/1/17 - Here are a few highlights of what was covered over the past 16 weeks regarding Warrant Article 6 – Construction of a new Fire Station:

In order for the warrant article to pass, there needs to be a simple majority voting yes. A simple majority of the vote would be 50% of the total votes plus 1 voting YES.

The proposed new station will be located at 204 Lowell Road and will replace the existing Burns Hill Fire Station.

Out of all municipal buildings, a fire station is the only one that needs to be location driven. As we plan for timely and efficient coverage, the move to the location at 204 Lowell Road will give 307 additional households a 5 minute response from the new location. That would bring the total households to 3,433.

The proposed new fire station will bring a much needed facility which will afford the department the proper storage and space that a 24/7 emergency services operation needs to operate safely and efficiently.

Instead of making an extra trip to and from the Central Fire Station to re-fill supplies and make repairs to equipment, the new station will provide the appropriate space and storage to allow personnel to remain in quarters and complete these tasks at the new station.

The impact to the taxpayer is a one-time increase of approximately $78.00 (based on the average home value of $265K)

The new station will bring some important necessities such as a proper lobby, a secure living area, separate men’s and women’s bunk rooms and bathrooms, a lobby, EMS supply storage and a decontamination/gear storage room. In addition, it will provide the personnel with the ability to move safely around the apparatus when parked inside.

Time is of the essence as each passing year brings about greater expenses as costs for goods and services increase. We appreciate your support and are hopeful that in less than two weeks we will be able to begin this exciting new chapter in the history of the Hudson Fire Department.

Thank you for your support and please remember to go and vote on Tuesday, March 14th.

ONLY 6 MORE DAYS UNTIL ELECTION DAY! DON’T FORGET TO VOTE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 14TH

3/8/17 - Over the past 17 weeks we have been providing you with information regarding Warrant Article 6 – Construction of a New Fire Station. We hope the information we have produced has provided you with what you need to make an informed decision when you head to the polls on Tuesday.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the dialogue regarding this warrant article by taking the time to post a comment or question, and supporting us with a like or share on our posts.

A letter to you, the citizens of Hudson from Fire Chief Robert Buxton:

Good Day Hudson,

I would like to ask for a minute of your time.

Please allow me to take a minute to thank you for your support of the renovation at the Lenny Smith Central Fire Station. As this project comes to a close we are very proud of the changes to the facility and efficiencies we have gained in our work space. It is through a good partnership with you, our employees, the Board of Selectmen and our contractor that have made this project such a success.

As you are aware on March 14, 2017 we will ask for your continued support to meet the needs of this great community. Warrant Article 6 – Construction of a New Fire Station, represents the construction of a new fire station in south Hudson. As we reviewed during deliberative session, this project will allow us to provide better service delivery to our residents in the south end of town and afford our employees to work in a modern facility that will meet the needs of the Town of Hudson for years to come. As you read the warrant article this year you will note that we have changed the funding mechanism for this project. We will utilize a formula that will combine the unassigned fund balance along with a one time raising of additional funds through taxation. This means that the cost of constructing the station will take place in one year and not over 20 years. The impact to the average single family home will be a onetime increase of $78.

Warrant Article 14 – Ambulance Replacement, represents the authorization to purchase a new ambulance for the fire department with no impact to the tax rate. This project is being funded through a capital reserve fund that has been established for the purpose of purchasing capital EMS equipment. A capital reserve fund can be viewed as a saving account that you have been putting money into each year. As the owners of this fund, we are asking you for permission to withdraw the $200,000 for this purchase. This particular capital reserve fund has been in existence for over twenty years and has assisted us with providing you with the best Emergency Medical System that we can.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your consideration to invest in the Town of Hudson. I am very fortunate to represent this great organization. The services the Hudson Fire Department delivers each day come from a team effort. This team is inclusive of many, our citizens, The Board of Selectmen and the members of the Hudson Fire Department. If you should have any questions regarding the project mentioned above please feel free to contact me directly at 886-6021 or rbuxton@hudsonnh.gov. Additional information on the fire station can be found on our Facebook page at @hfdhudsonnh. Please take a look and share us with a friend.

Sincerely,

Robert M. Buxton

Fire Chief