MIDDLEBURY-Middlebury voters should have their say about the town's new fire station plans. An in-town committee established to review plans for the new station said last week it is likely voters well have a "crack at" deciding - up or down - the plans on Town Meeting Day next year.
The proposed fire station, planned for a field along the east side of U.S. Route 7 near Shea Motors, might end up being part of a of a trio of firehouses that would include the current main Seymour Street station and the auxiliary East Middlebury station.
Officials admitted that the down side to closing the Seymour Street building is that there would be an increase in some residential insurance rates. Keeping the current main station and the eastside station will minimize the increase of the so called local ISO (Insurance Service Office) rate.
Committee officials reported March 29 that they would prefer to reduce the insurance burden to taxpayers that would occur with station consolidation; the rates of 70-plus residents would be affected by the closing of the nearly 80-year-old Seymour Street station.
Regarding the eastside station, station committee members also said they would like to see a smaller station that would replace the current station which has shown considerable wear and tear over many decades.
A proposed replacement facility in East Middlebury would include firefighting equipment storage. The storage would be on-site of a new, smaller station is approved.
The fire station committee will report more detailed plans to the selectboard in late May; it will look more closely at both the proposed main and downsized eastside stations as well as impacts to residents with certain radii of the stations.
Cost and footprint of the facilities will receive special attention, according to town officials.