continued ““We feel this vote was not rejecting the new station or the price or size, but this turned into a vote about tax rates and the difference in the district tax rate and the protection tax rate that the town sets, which the district has no control over,” Perrin said. “[Voters kept telling us], ‘You need this station, and the price is not high, but it needs to be paid fairly by both district and protection taxpayers.’”
But the Board of Fire Commissioners has no control over the tax rate set outside the fire district.
“The down side to this is we cannot control the protection tax and what the town board gives us from that and if they raise the rate or not,” Perrin said.
Perrin said the department was surprised by the outcome of the vote and by the reasons for the rejection.
“It is upsetting that it came down to a tax vote and not a vote based on our needs. We had some town residents go out of their way campaigning against us and making this the issue and not worrying about or volunteers’ safety,” he said. “That stings a little. We put our lives on the line every day for the community and we do a great job and all our residents tell us this, but we defined an immediate safety issue, and it was ignored for an issue that really needs to be taken and addressed to the town hall.”
Perrin said the department is currently exploring other options, as the safety concerns at the station still need to be addressed.
“We will do what is necessary to protect our members and keep them as safe as possible,” Perrin said. “Our concern and fear is the safety issue we have ignored with this vote. [We’re afraid] one of our members is going to get hurt. I’m not sure of any impact [on] the taxpayers [or how they] will feel [about it], but this is our priority first and will remain our priority.”