The Williamstown Fire District says it's not giving up on getting a new fire station, despite a major setback Tuesday night. The town voted down a proposal to buy land the district had hoped to build on. YNN's Madeleine Rivera has more on the rejection and how fire officials hope to move forward.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. -- The rejection to expand the cramped fire station was disappointing for the Williamstown Fire District, especially when the final count revealed a close vote.
"We were 13 votes short of the two-thirds majority that we required," said John Notsley, chair of Prudential Committee which oversees the Fire District.
The District was intent on acquiring a 3.7 acre property at 562-580 Main Street. This would have been the site for a new fire station.
"We spent three years exploring the center part of Williamstown for space for a larger facility and this was the only parcel that came up that would fit our needs," said Notsley.
And fire district officials say the need for a new fire station is dire. The current one is lacking the space for new equipment, trucks and training facilities for nearly 27 volunteer firefighters.
But the Town Finance Committee Chair, Charles Fox, opposes the plan. Buying this $575,000 parcel of land would have increased residents' taxes by nine percent over the next two years. And there are other town projects on the table, including the construction of a new high school and a new police department.
"How much are we going to spend in order to pursue these capital projects?" asked Fox.
Now, the fire district says the town's decision has put them in a precarious position.
"My father always had a saying, they don't make any more land," said Notsley.
But they're not giving up on building a new fire station.
"I would love to see it. I think it's overdue and before I retire, that's going to be one of my goal," said Fire Chief Craig Pedercini.