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What's Going On at Center Moriches FD?


 
 
 


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

WHAT IS BEING VOTED UPON?

Residents in the Center Moriches Fire District will vote on a $17.9-million bond proposition that would pay for the renovation and expansion of the department’s firehouse.

WHEN DOES THE VOTE TAKE PLACE?

Polls will be open between 12:00pm and 9:00pm on Tuesday, September 12 at the firehouse, located at 301 Main Street in Center Moriches.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO VOTE?

All residents of the Center Moriches Fire District registered to vote with the Suffolk County Board of Elections on or before Tuesday, May 30, 2023 shall be eligible to vote.

WHY IS THIS RENOVATION NECESSARY?

To protect the safety of Center Moriches residents, it is essential to upgrade the community’s obsolete firehouse.

A major portion of the existing firehouse was originally built in 1930. It lacks the capacity to accommodate today’s larger fire trucks. The firehouse requires renovations that will bring the overall building into compliance with current National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) safety codes and standards. The renovation will also add additional apparatus bays.

An apparatus bay built in 1970 is now too narrow to provide for the safety of firefighters and to allow for the efficient dispatching of emergency vehicles. An annex building, added in 1990, is now too small to accommodate modern fire trucks. And a radio room built in 2000 is now unable to properly house contemporary telecom equipment and would be repurposed for the use of emergency medical personnel.

The department’s entire communications system is now situated at basement and ground level. Based upon lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy in 2012, these telecom systems must be elevated to protect them from the threat of a flood or hurricane.

In addition, the lack of separate gear storage space creates dangerously overcrowded conditions for volunteers where vehicles operate – and exposes firefighters to carcinogens.

The current firehouse also violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because of its lack of access for people with disabilities. It also doesn’t provide separate gear dressing areas for men and women volunteers.

HAS THE DEMAND FOR FIRE DISTRICT SERVICES BEEN GROWING?

The community has seen a major surge in alarm calls in recent years. Emergency medical service calls skyrocketed from 735 annually to 1,778 between 2010 and 2022, an increase of 142 percent. Fire call volume increased from 347 annually to 539, an increase of 55 percent during that same time period.

HAS THE SIZE OF THE FIRE DISTRICT FLEET GROWN?

The district’s fleet of vehicles has expanded from ten at the time of the last expansion in 1970 to 19 today – nearly double – including five fire trucks, three ambulances, two fire police vehicles, an advanced life support first responder, and two rescue boats.

Today’s trucks are also physically larger than before and have outgrown our present facility. Modern ladder trucks are at least 29 percent longer than trucks from 40 years ago. Pumpers are 22 percent longer. They are too long to be properly accommodated by either the main apparatus bay or by the annex building.

WHAT WILL THIS COST LOCAL RESIDENTS?

The plan, if approved by voters, would increase fire district taxes from $24.188 per $100 of assessed valuation to $35.212.  This amounts to less than a dollar a day for a typical home assessed at $3,000 . Click the chart on the right to see how you can look up how much it will cost you.

A cost analysis concluded that renovating and expanding the existing firehouse would be less expensive than building a new facility. The renovation would re-use any existing infrastructure that still meets current safety standards. 

The $17.9 million bond would be supplemented by $500,000 in reserve funds, available because of conservative budgeting by the fire district. This would bring the total project cost to $18.4 million.

OF MY TOTAL PROPERTY TAX BILL, HOW MUCH PAYS FOR FIRE AND EMS?

Fire and ambulance services make up a very small percentage – approximately 7.5 percent – of the average property tax bill in Center Moriches.  That means that less than eight cents of every dollar paid in property taxes goes to fund fire and EMS. Click the chart on the right to see how your property taxes get allocated.Click to enlarge

HOW DOES OUR FIRE DISTRICT TAX RATE COMPARE WITH OTHER FIRE DISTRICTS?

Upon passage of the bond proposition, the cost of fire and EMS services in Center Moriches would still be well below that of such nearby districts as Coram ($43.945), Brookhaven/Shirley ($42.591), Middle Island ($41.167), and North Patchogue ($39.753).

Have a specific question, please email us at expansion@centermorichesfd.com


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