Cutchogue Fire District residents approve $16M bond to rebuild headquarters

Voters in the Cutchogue Fire District approved a $16 million bond Tuesday to tear down most of the current fire department building and rebuild an approximately 21,000-square-foot headquarters.

About 40 minutes after polls closed, the final tally was announced showing 163 yes votes compared to 138 no votes.

Dave Blados, chair of the board of commissioners, hailed the vote.

“We had three open houses to answer anyone’s questions,” he said. “Anyone could come in and we’d talk it through.

“This is very good for the future. The building is in disarray. Now we can plan for the future and hopefully get new members. This is very good for the people of the district.”

The construction would add a second floor and more efficient, sustainable plumbing and electrical equipment, including solar panels on the roof. The timeline for the project is estimated at a year to 18 months from bond approval.

Mr. Blados had previously said the project may not require the full $16 million bond, but the department wanted to avoid issuing another if costs run higher than expected. The bond specifies the total cannot exceed $16 million.

A summary of the estimated debt service and tax impact for a 23-year bond projects that a $15 million loan would result in a tax increase for fire district residents of $48.92 per $1,000 of assessed value. The same loan over 30 years would generate a tax increase of $44.59 per $1,000.

In July, voters in the Mattituck Fire District rejected a proposal to authorize $11 million in bonds to expand its firehouse on Pike Street.