Sebago Public Safety Building Status Report
June 7, 2008
Sebago has taken a deliberate and careful path to assess current and future needs of the town and its residents for fire and rescue protection, and to develop facilities and apparatus to support those needs. The process has taken five years so far, and progress continues to be made. Here is a short history of actions taken to get to this point:
A Fire Station Committee was formed with the approval by the voters of an amended Town Meeting Warrant Article 65 at the June 2003 Town Meeting. The charge to the committee was to “study the need and location for a new fire station or addition and report back at the next annual town meeting in a form to be voted on at that time.”
The Town contracted with Maine Fire Training and Education program of the Southern Maine Community College in Feb 2004 to assess Sebago’s long-term public safety needs. The consultant, Neil Courtney, presented a report that:
· Assessed the functionality of the current buildings and how they equate with the needs of modern fire service facilities, as well as the location of these facilities;
· Reviewed the geographic location of the three fire stations;
· Made recommendations as to apparatus and facilities to meet Sebago’s long-term public safety needs.
Voters approved Warrant Article 10, which funded $30,000 for an addition to Station 1 through the CIP program, as well as funding to save for fire apparatus and ambulance replacement.
The Committee reported back to the June 2005 Town Meeting with several recommendations, including accepting the consultant’s recommendation to “site and construct a single fire station that combines the East and North Sebago stations”. They also recommended planning through the CIP program for apparatus replacement, funding for an addition to Station 1 and station maintenance.
Warrant Article 19 was approved by voters which “accepted the recommendations of the Fire House Committee and directed the Selectmen to begin the process of developing a new emergency services building for the Town of Sebago through the Capital Investment Program process with recommendations to be brought back to the Town Meeting in June 2007.” A Public Safety Building Committee was established and charged with continuing the process to develop a new Public Safety Building, recommending a site and developing a preliminary building design.
The Committee developed site selection criteria, reviewed 7 possible sites and identified 3 final sites. A preliminary building design was developed. These recommendations were presented to the June 2006 Town Meeting.
Voters were presented with Committee recommendations to build the Public Safety Building on town land off Route 114, and to hire an architectural design firm to prepare a budget, schedule and building design to meet Sebago’s public safety needs. Voters approved $40,000 under the CIP program as Warrant Article 9 to fund this next phase of the Public Safety Building and keep the process moving ahead.
2. Public Safety Building Committee
The members of the Public Safety Building Committee for FY07/08 are:
· Selectman Abe Parker
· Fire Department Lt Phil Strike
· Rescue Department Chief Lauris Champagne
· Budget Committee Greg Smith
· Member at large Maurice Davies
· Member at large Don Olden
· Town Manager Robert Nicholson
3. Site Selection Process
At the June 2007 Town Meeting the Public Safety Building Committee recommended that Site #1, property owned by the Town off Route 114 near the Town Sand Pit, be designated as the location for the new Public Safety Building. The Committee was to present their recommendations to the Board of Selectmen for approval. The Selectmen and the Committee viewed the property, and there were several questions raised including whether the owners of Site #2, the Arthur Crowe sand pit, should be consulted further. This was done, but nothing further developed. The Committee and the Board of Selectmen need to make a final recommendation for site selection to that the next steps can be taken. The Board of Selectmen have elected to solicit public input before making a recommendation to the voters at the
June 2009 Town Meeting.
4. Architectural Design and Cost Estimates
At the June 2007 Town Meeting Sebago voters approved $40,000 in the CIP to hire an architectural design and engineering firm to develop site, budget, schedule and building design options. A request for bids was sent to several firms in the state and advertised in the media, and Smith Reuter Lull Architects in Lewiston were selected to do the work. They have met several times with the Public Safety Building Committee to develop building options. Their charge is to prepare a building design, construction schedule and budget that realistically meet Sebago’s current and projected needs for a fire and rescue facility for the next 20 years. They submitted a design for a 5-bay station to house fire, rescue and a future police department at a projected cost of more than $2.4 million. The
Committee and the Board of Selectmen rejected this proposal as too costly and directed the architects to explore other less-ambitious and less-costly options that would also meet the need for improved facilities. This look would also include existing facilities to see if any modifications could be made to them. New proposals will be presented to the Committee and the Board of Selectmen for review with a goal for making recommendations to the voters at the June 2009 Town Meeting.
5. Town of Standish proposal to share facilities
Sebago has been approached by the Town of Standish to share fire department facilities and apparatus. They have a gap in their northern service area along Route 114 and would like to explore an arrangement whereby they would store a piece of apparatus in Sebago, and possibly house fire fighters there as well. Standish has indicated that they would be willing to contribute to the cost of apparatus as well as operational maintenance. The June 2008 Town Meeting Warrant Article 19 requests permission of the Sebago voters for the Board of Selectmen to enter into negotiations with Standish to explore this further.
6. Public Workshops Planned
The new Public Safety Building will be largest facility ever constructed in the Town of Sebago and there are a number of issues that need to be worked out before the voters are asked to support it through their tax dollars. Issues include the need for the new facility, the size and location of it, and the ultimate fate of existing fire stations.
The Board of Selectmen, with the Public Safety Building Committee, plans on having a series of public workshops/public hearings in the late summer and fall to present site, building designs, schedules and cost estimates to the public, and to solicit input from the public on alternative sites, building designs, etc.
7. June 2009 Town Meeting
Based on these public workshops, the Board of Selectmen hope to be able to have their recommendations included in a warrant article and presented to the voters at the June 2009 Town Meeting.