essex fire trucks

The Essex Fire Department vehicles are currently being housed in the Dept. of Public Works' garage while the fire station undergoes restoration.

Additional work needed to fully restore the Essex Fire Department’s (EFD) station, which stems from sudden mold remediation, is adding a hefty chunk of change to the bottomline.

During a Town of Essex Selectboard special meeting held Monday night, another $60,000 was approved to help the project and take care of some work that had been previously-planned for the future. Town staff said that it was best to complete that work now while the building was unoccupied and open for other repairs.

The addition comes on top of $135,000 that was previously approved by the selectboard in late April. $55,000 of that was to pay Clay Point Associates, Inc. for the mold discovery and clean-up, and the town decided to put the other $80,000 into the building for upgrades and repairs since it was already going to be worked upon.

In that April meeting, Public Works Director Dennis Lutz said that Tom Yandow, facilities manager for the town, had put together an itemized list of fixes and upgrades that the station could have used or was due for. It was estimated that, if done separately, those items would amount to around $143,000, but Lutz said he trimmed some things for a more-precise list that would have cost about $104,000 if done independently. He continued by saying that the town could bring the total expenditure down to around the $80,000 mark if done all together.

However, Lutz joined the June 22 meeting and said that additional funds would be needed for proper restoration.

“In my view, the money that we're asking for is essential,” Lutz told the selectboard. “These aren't nice to have things; these are things that are needed to put the fire station back in proper operating order -- for not just next year, but for the foreseeable future… That building has been there for quite some time with essentially little repairs or anything done to it. And, unfortunately, there comes a time when you discover stuff that the bills have to be paid and the bill comes due.”

Lutz went on to say that a lot of the work being done is to help prevent mold from growing in the future, including reroofing the apparatus bay, installing a ventilation system, and replacing windows and walls which had poor insulation -- those all being some of the more costly aspects of the project. He also explained that, through talking with Assistant Manager/Finance Director Sarah Macy, the town could pay for the additional work by borrowing against its capital fund or by using some of the capital reserves currently held.

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