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Fire station ready for department to move in

KENT — The two-year saga of the Kent Volunteer Fire Department firehouse is about to end.

Fire Chief Eric Epstein said the department has received a conditional certificate of occupancy for the administrative part of the new building, which is located at 28 Maple St.

Epstein said the department should be fully moved into the new building by the end of the year.

“We’re all very excited,” Epstein said. “With the new building, we’ll be able to house all of our equipment in one location. There was never enough room to do that in our North Main Street building. We’ve had a storage issue dating way back to 1974, when the department purchased its first ambulance.”

Having all the equipment in one location will help the department respond to calls much more quickly.

On the financial side, First Selectman Ruth Epstein (who is, coincidentally, the fire chief’s mother) said that bonding to pay for the new firehouse was completed last week by the town.

The town contracted for a $1,250,000 bond with Fidelity Capital Market Services, a Boston firm.

“We got a 3.06 percent interest rate,” the first selectman said. “In the process, the town’s bond rating went up two notches to a Double AA.”

Barry Bernabe, vice president of government finance at Webster Bank, helped advise the town on obtaining a bond. He said the town’s new bond rating is the third highest possible, with the highest being AAA.

“The factors that go into bond rating include the quality of management team, demographics, the town’s debt position and their financial position,” Bernabe said. “The town was strong on all of the above. The town has shown adequate [monetary] reserve levels and a lot of that has to do with people that are in the town government.”

Bernabe said the town received a 10-year bond, which must be paid back by 2018.

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