Woodbury voters approve money for new fire station
WOODBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - After budget requests for a new fire station have been rejected for years, Woodbury voters came through for the volunteer fire department.
Voters approved a new $1.3 million building to give fire crews a bit more space.
“We are very thankful that the voters approved this article,” Chief Paul Cerutti said.
Cerutti and Assistant Fire Chief Chance Payette say they have to wait to get into their gear because it’s such a squeeze and the fire trucks are parked in such a way they can’t open the doors. Payette says this is a job field where minutes and even seconds matter.
“As the assistant chief or the chief, having to sit around waiting is difficult,” he said.
At a recent special meeting, Woodbury voters approved the bond to fund a new station across the street from its current location. Cerutti says it was a long-time coming.
After earlier plans were rejected, they have now created a plan for a 4,300 square foot facility.
“We’ll have plenty of space, four feet between the trucks, 14-feet high ceilings,” said Cerutti.
He says it will also add a shower, office space and meeting space.
“All of the functions of the fire department that we need on a day-to-day basis will be in that one building,” Cerutti said.
It comes with a tax increase of about 65 cents per $100,000 of house value for Woodbury residents.
Cerutti says he understands that any tax increase or any new ask from a town can be contentious. In eight years of trying, he knows there will always be people who think it’s not needed. But he says over time and with communication, the current situation looks good.
“It’s been bumpy, but it looks like we are going to get it done,” he said.
The fire department is in a 30-day window to see if anyone files a petition against the vote.
Woodbury is a volunteer service and with upgraded facilities, Cerutti says can better serve the community.
“The easier you can make it on your volunteers, the better it is for the community,” he said.
Payette says with more space, he can offer CPR or other medical courses for the area.
“A little bit of added value for what you’re paying for. so yeah, it all adds up at the end of the day,” Payette said.
Cerutti says he is proud of the 22-member volunteer department, a really good number for a small town. But he says doesn’t want to lose those volunteers because of poor working conditions.
“People with the amount of training requirements which we have --and I’m not objecting to training -- it needs to be done, you need to have a good fire department. But you add all of that on top of a facility that’s hard to work. In people, I can see just give up, so the easier you can make it on your volunteers the better it is for your community,” said Cerutti.
Chief Cerutti says he knows these things take time, so if all goes according to plan, construction can begin this summer.
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