Voters defeat CFD construction referendum

— Voters last week rejected a $5.6 million referendum that would have reconstruction Cicero Fire Department Station No. 1 on Route 11.

A total of 264 people in the Cicero Fire District turned out to vote on the proposal, with 180 voting against and 84 voting in favor. The project would have made significant repairs to Station No. 1, addressing significant structural issues as well as asbestos on the second floor and numerous safety concerns for the volunteer firefighters in the department. The reconstruction would have renovated the community hall, repaved the parking lot, expanded the apparatus bays and moved them behind the station hall and parking lot so that fire apparatus wouldn’t have to pull out directly onto Route 11. The proposal would have cost taxpayers within the fire district, which covers about a one-mile radius from Station 1, about $75 per $100,000 of assessed value.

The all-volunteer department, founded in 1883, has a total of 65 members and covers 12 square miles between the Cicero Fire District and the Cicero Fire Protection District. It has two stations, Station 1 at the four corners of Route 31 and Route 11, and Station 2 near Cicero-North Syracuse High School. The department responded to more than 1,000 calls in 2013.

The department provides protection to the entire town, but only a small portion of that is within its fire district. Cicero also has four other fire districts (Brewerton, South Bay, North Syracuse and Bridgeport). All five also contract with the town to provide protection to the areas outside their specified district. Residents within that fire district pay taxes that help support the department. They would also have paid for the reconstruction of Station No. 1, had the referendum passed.

Cicero Fire Commissioner Jim Perrin said he believed confusion over the tax rate between the fire district and the fire protection district led to the defeat of the referendum.

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