posted on February 02, 2012 16:23
With no projected increase in the town's fire tax, Town of Batavia Fire Department officials say they can keep up with a changing future and revamp almost their entire operation.
The department's board of directors today unveiled their 20-year "Master Plan," a map for the future nearly eight years in the making. The plan includes replacing the two existing fire stations with two brand new ones (pictured above), purchasing a brand new pumper-ladder combination firetruck, phasing out old equipment, and – perhaps most daunting – adding 57 new firefighters to the volunteer staff.
"We're looking at what development has occurred in the Town of Batavia in the last ten years; what is occurring now; and what is going to potentially happen in the future," says County Emergency Management Coordinator Tim Yaeger, who is also on the board of directors. "We've changed some procedures and equipment...but we don't want to be playing catch up and be reactive. We want to be proactive."
The plan is, in part, a reaction to increasing development at the GCEDC's various business parks in the Town – primarily the Agri-Business Park on Route 5, Gateway Corporate Park on Route 98, and the Gateway II Corporate Park on West Saile Drive. As businesses continue to build and grow in those parks, the fire department expects to take on greater responsibility, not only for the business locations but also for added family residences in the town.
"Studies have shown that the population growth associated with those parks can't be handled by the available housing in the City of Batavia...it's just not up to standard for the type of houses those workers will be looking for," said Yaeger.
The plan is fitted around the department's current $2.34/thousand tax, and officials don't expect that figure to increase over the next 20 years, despite their ambitious plan.
That's despite the fact: the department has raised taxes four times in the past 10 years.
"The projected increase in our funding is based on a conservative estimate of the increase in town value over the next 20 years," said Chief Randy McIntyre. "That increase should sustain us, based on our prediction."
Fire department officials admit, their plan could continue to change – but right now, they're happy with the result and ready to begin work towards completion. Construction of a new firehouse on Stringham Drive (No.2 in the above diagram) could begin as soon as 2014.