Bedford land buy talk precedes fire substation bond vote
Resident Peter Kujawski objected to spending $288,000 for property to build a fire substation along South River Road. He said response time, as recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, is 14 miles or 8 minutes at 35 mph, without sirens and traffic lights. The farthest point from the primary fire station on Route 101 to the Merrimack town line is 6.2 miles or 11 minutes, and 6.4 miles or 12 minutes to the northwest corner of town, he said, citing Google maps.
Town Manager Jessie Levine said if voters do not approve the bond, the land could be sold at a profit.
Councilor Bill Dermody added that the money has been set aside in the Town Council’s land reserve fund and will not affect the budget or the tax rate. The process may seem backward, said Dermody, but the land is available now and is a prime location for a substation.
Many councilors agreed that timing is right to buy the land, and cited the need for ambulance services in the area.
Resident Carolyn Akins agreed with Kujawski and recommended the Town Council look into leasing a property to house an ambulance rather than buying land and building a new fire substation. She said one of the Merrimack fire stations is vacant.
There was no public comment on spending $162,600 from the land reserve fund for a residential property on Wathen Road. The home on the Wathen Road property, off South River Road near Colby Court, will be purchased and razed to save money on repairing a bridge over McQuesten Brook, as part of a wetland mitigation project.
The council voted to amend the Sunday sales ordinance allowing all sales on Sunday in Bedford without licensing fees, compliance, town enforcement and fines, which could cost $100 per day for violations.
The council also amended the Tax Increment Financing District project. In 2010, the council created the district on South River Road to identify property values and tax revenues and to invest in the area’s infrastructure.
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