Bedford officials make their case for new fire substation
If voters approve the bond, the council will budget for three additional firefighters to staff the substation beginning in 2015, said Town Manager Jessie Levine. The tax impact for the 10-year bond would result in a tax rate increase of 26 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation, or $105 per year for the owner of a property assessed at $400,000, beginning in 2016.
Levine and Fire Chief Scott Wiggin returned to the council’s Oct. 9 meeting with more information, resulting in the council’s recommendation. The proposed substation would be built along South River Road; the exact location will not be disclosed until purchase negotiations are completed.
• The town’s population has grown by about 2,929 people from 2000-10, but 47 percent of that growth is in the South River Road corridor.
• The South River Road area takes up 8 percent of the town’s land mass, but requires 40 percent of call volume.
• The response to the remaining 92 percent of Bedford is impacted by the amount of time dedicated to the South River Road area, Levine said.
In 1980, there were 217 fire calls and 264 calls for emergency services, as compared to 620 fire calls and 1,376 EMS calls in 2010, town-wide. From 2004 to 2012, ambulance calls to the South River Road area increased from 272 to 882.
Wiggin said the National Fire Protection Agency requires an ambulance arrival time within five minutes and fire response within eight minutes. The town usually meets the standards for EMS response in about 50 percent of the time and 85 percent of the time for fire, including time leaving the station.
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