Home » Bids for firehouse range from $2.4 to $3.1 million

Bids for firehouse range from $2.4 to $3.1 million

KENT — Five bids for Kent’s new firehouse were opened Friday afternoon at Town Hall. The bids, which range from just under $2.4 million to $3.165 million, are for a pre-engineered, 15,000-square-foot consolidated fire and ambulance service facility.

First Selectman Ruth Epstein noted that the bids do not include other costs: bonding, furnishings, inspections, legal work and contingency planning.

Voters in 2005 first approved, then rejected, a $4.3-million firehouse. A committee chaired by Selectman Vince LaFontan labored for months to come up with the new, pre-engineered proposal.

The Firehouse Building Committee, formed after the decision was made to go with a pre-engineered building, painstakingly put together a Request for Proposals in the $3-million range.

On Friday, committee Chairman Matt Winter expressed a cautious hope that the firehouse could be brought to a town vote before May’s town budget vote.

Board of Finance members expressed their concern about the timing of the referendum at their February meeting.

There are a host of complications, starting with the calendar. The town has 90 days to choose a bid, a timetable that could fit awkwardly with the budgeting process, which includes a budget presentation May 4 and a vote May 18. A referendum on the Region One school budget will also happen sometime in May, although that date has not yet been determined.

Also in question is which voting machines would be used. The new voting machines, which are scheduled to be used for the Region One budget vote, would not be immediately available for another vote.

Finance board Chairman George Jacobsen said at the February meeting that the board should be ready at the May 4 budget presentation to address the firehouse issue "to some extent."

— Patrick L. Sullivan

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