Wading River voters reject fire station plans

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Firetrucks parked in the existing fire station on Hulse Landing Road.
BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Trucks parked in the existing fire station on Hulse Landing Road.

Voters in the Wading River Fire District on Tuesday rejected a proposal to borrow $4.75 million toward building a new fire station on Hulse Landing Road.

The vote was 126 votes in favor of the new building and 198 opposed.

The district planned to replace the existing 5,100-square-foot fire station , which was built in 1982, with a new 11,500 square-foot structure.

In addition to the $4.75 million bond, the district also planned to use $1 million from its reserve fund, bringing the total cost of the project to $5.75 million.

The existing building has a leaky roof, heating and cooling systems that need to be replaced and problems with the underground LIPA lines, according to fire district manager Greg Michalakopoulos.

And volunteers’ gear is stored right up against the engine, which is now against OSHA regulations, he said.

Commissioner Tim Deveny said his taxes would have gone up $55 if the bond was approved.

“Over 365 days, it would cost me and my family 15 cents a day to have that new firehouse,” he said.

For most people in Riverhead Town, the estimated cost of the firehouse was $35 to $40, he said

“You can’t go out to a diner for that,” he said, adding that the commissioners will have to meet again and decide what steps to take next.

“You can’t keep putting good money into repairing that building,” he said.

Meanwhile, all of the area fire commissioner elections were unopposed in their bids for five-year terms Tuesday night, and all were re-elected, as there were no surprise write-in candidacies.

In Wading River, incumbent Tom Lateulere was re-elected with 276 of the 280 votes cast.

In the Riverhead Fire District, incumbent Mark Conklin was reelected with 67 votes, to two write-ins.

In Jamesport, Robert Sikora, running for the seat being vacated by longtime commissioner Jim Kane, who opted not to seek reelection, got 31 votes, to 3 write-ins, two of which were for Mr. Kane.

Jamesport also had an uncontested election for treasurer, with incumbent Paul Epperlein receiving 34 votes.

In Manorville, Thomas Costello, running for the seat being vacated by incumbent Robert McCluskey, got all 67 votes.

And in Flanders, incumbent David Scaffauer received all 13 votes cast in winning reelection.

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