A volunteer firefighter from Tupper Lake continues to forge ahead with a plan to construct a new fire hall on a town-owned lot, even after the village said it has no intention of building there.
Speaking during Monday night's regular board meeting, Mark Arsenault told village trustees they should consider the town site as the future home of the Tupper Lake Volunteer Fire Department.
But Mayor Mickey Desmarais said the village is already developing plans to build the fire hall on village property.
"I guess the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing," Desmarais told Arsenault.
Arsenault had pitched the idea of building the fire hall to the town board last week, without the knowledge of the village.
Trustees did speak with Arsenault after the town board meeting and told him they weren't interested in the town lot. Even so, Arsenault broached the idea again earlier this week.
"The town is open to the idea [of building the fire hall next to the town offices] but they want to see a drawing of how the building would look," Arsenault said.
The town has complained about the rates it pays for the village's fire protection services and has expressed interest in taking over the operation of the fire department.
Arsenault said he's frustrated with the amount of time it's taking to move forward with the new fire hall, a project the village has said is necessary in order to house all of the department's equipment under one roof.
Arsenault told board members he's "tired of coming with suggestions" and seeing no sign of progress.
"I've done everything I can to provide you with the materials you need to make a decision," he said, adding that the first step is to find a location for the fire hall.
"We have a location," Desmarais responded, pointing out that the village has a clear title to a plot of land next to the village garage on McLaughlin Avenue.
Desmarais said he is also anxious to see the new fire hall built. He adds that the village is in the process of securing low interest financing through Franklin County.
Under the village board's direction, the fire department has reduced its expenses by eliminating all of its paid drivers. Desmarais said the village is now in a good position to move forward with the project.
"We think its time to move forward with the new garage, but it's probably going to go right where it is," he said.
Desmarais said the town site is not the best location for the village's fire hall.
"We're looking to build a very energy efficient fire hall," Desmarais explained.
He said the plan is to face the building south and incorporate solar panels to generate electricity for the building. The proposed town lot faces northwest.
Desmarais also wants to heat the building with a biomass furnace that could also heat the village garage across the street - a system similar to one used by the nearby Wild Center.
"This is something that is going to save taxpayers money on energy costs and support our local forest products industry," he said.
Desmarais tapped village board members Leon Leblanc and Chip Perham to "take ownership" of the project and serve as liaisons between the village, town and fire department.