The town is continuing to pay for repairs mandated by the state at its highway garage.
The town of Westport is getting closer to having plans for a new combined Department of Public Works and fire station put before the public.
The TOW's highway committees, a subcommittee consisting of town board member Tim Sherman, DPW Superintendent Dennis Westover, Representative for the fire district Gordon Decker, Engineering Venture Consultant Peter Gibbs and community members Nancy Page and Rick Rockeffer have worked to identify what the needs will be for the building and how to present them to an architect.
The concept drawings were presented at the town board meeting on Nov. 13 and at the fire district meeting on Nov. 20.
The plans outline a joint building which will be built on the property where the current DPW building stands on Route 22.
“Up to this point no one has spent any money, this is just a concept where everyone has volunteered their time,” Gibbs said.
The committee’s drawings outline the even split of the simply designed building. The current proposed plan calls for a single building for the DPW and Fire Department to share. The building will be divided equally and they will share an operations room, bathroom facilities, meeting space, kitchen area and break room.
“This is basically one building serving two functions,” Decker said at the fire district meeting.
The group has met for informational sessions and roundtable discussions six times to create a building design to put before both the town board and the fire district.
For the DPW and Fire District to share a building, the town would need to take responsibility for the property and lease the building space to the fire district.
“This could allow the town to put the current fire department back on the tax rolls,” Fabre said. “The fire department would be less than a mile from the current department so it won’t affect response time.”
The fire district, pending a vote by all commissioners, plans to present the town board with a supporting statement to participate in the project.
After the plans receive feedback from both the fire district and the town board to ensure they address the needs of both municipalities, the plans can be finalized to prepare for Request for Proposals to be sent out.
“We won’t have a cost to put out until we get the RFP’s back,” Sherman said.
During the Nov. 13 town board meeting, Supervisor Dan Connell said the concerns he had for the new space was the lack of a cost estimate.
The group has used material collected by AES, a consulting firm hired by the town that collected information from the fire department, DPW, town and Westport Central School.
“AES interviewed the different entities to find out what they needed in the building and collected data about the site,” Gibbs said.
At the time the town was looking to see if one building could meet the needs of a new town hall, fire department, DPW building and include space for the school to conduct bus repairs. The plans were not approved by the voters in July 2011.
The board members hope the combined project will be a cost effective alternative to two new buildings and the mounting costs the town is paying in fines towards building code violations in both buildings. Connell said if the town doesn’t decide to go forward then it will to continue to pay fines for the buildings code violations.
After the committee meets on Dec. 10, they can begin talking about estimates. Sherman said in the 2013-2014 town budget there are funds allocated to the construction of this project. The next step in the process is to have the town and the fire district say they want this building.
Residents can view some of the designs the blue prints that are available for the public at the town hall.