CONWAY — North Conway Water Precinct’s annual meeting last Wednesday, completed in under 40 minutes, was believed to have been the shortest ever.
All 25 articles passed, including Article 20, which was the $75,000 “New Fire Station Design” article.
“I think this was the quickest ever,” said Robert Porter, who ran unopposed and was re-elected to another three-year term.
“It was certainly one of the quickest in recent memory,” said Executive Administrative Assistant Kris Cluff, who announced she intends to retire after 41 years in June.
Other incumbents who ran unopposed and were re-elected included Robert “Timmy” Anderson, winning a one-year term as treasurer; Gary Chandler, clerk, one year; and local attorney Donald Ekberg, who was rewarded with another one-year term as moderator.
Article 2, concerning long-term debt, was amended from $1,289,296 to $1,509,234. The Sewer Enterprise Funding was amended from $150,000 to $369,938.
Also amended was Article 20, the $75,000 “New Fire Station Design” article.
Voters amended it by changing the phrase “engineering design,” to “engineering conceptual design.”
According to fire station committee chair/Commissioner Suzanne Nelson and North Conway Fire Chief Pat Preece, the committee is looking at replacing the station with a new, larger building at the same location at 70 Norcross Circle.
Preece, in his annual report, said the plan is to hire a project manager to oversee the design phase of the base drawings to present to voters at the 2020 annual meeting.
He added that the $75,000 for the study is coming from the unassigned fund balance.
In addition to Nelson and Preece, other members of the Fire Department Expansion Committee station committee include Assistant Chief Chad McCarthy, Deputy Chief Tim Anderson and NCWP Superintendent Jason Gagnon.
The existing brick-and-mortar station was dedicated in 1962. It was designed by Frank Kennett Jr., with W.G. Duprey and Son of North Conway serving as general contractor.
After the meeting, Nelson said she would like to see that whatever is built will complement Norcross Circle, which includes the North Conway Country Club and the 1874-built Victorian North Conway Train Station.
Preece said this week that there is a need for a larger station.
“You try to keep clean areas and dirty areas separate — you have these firefighting vehicles coming back from fighting fires, and they park here and carry carcinogens. You wash them, but you still get 'off-gassing' occurring,” Preece told the Sun.
“Another big focus we try to do is health and wellness training for firefighters, and you can’t really do that as we don’t have the space for a weight room and for space for monthly meetings," Preece said.
"We’d like to do more classes here, but we can’t really do it now due to space. Also, there is not enough room for gear drying other than by air drying,” he said.
Precinct voters also approved Article 13, to appropriate $140,000 from the water department fund balance for a 1,300-foot water main replacement on Grove Street as part of the town’s planned rebuild of the residential street in North Conway Village.
That follows the town’s rebuild of the eastern end of Seavey Street last summer. As part of that project, the NCWP replaced 1,200 feet of old cast iron water main on Seavey Street and Patton Court. Water Precinct Superintendent Jason Gagnon said the precinct was able to save approximately $75,000 by doing the work in-house.
In his superintendent’s report, Gagnon said the precinct’s dewatering and septage receiving upgrade brought new, “state-of-the-art wastewater treatment technology” to the precinct.
The project is not yet finished, but it is up and running, according to Gagnon, who said the $3.35 million project was funded by the state Department of Environmental Services Revolving Loan Fund.
“It will cut our chemical and labor costs by $180,000 a year. We were able to get between 12 and 20 percent principal forgiveness on the project so the actual cost is much less,” said Gagnon.
Voters also passed Article 11, which is the continuation of the commercial water meter replacement program, a $110,000 appropriation that is the first phase of a two-phase upgrade, with $55,000 to come from water fees and revenues and $55,00 from sewer fees and revenues.
Also approved was a new pickup truck for the NCFD, replacement of Fire Rescue 2 and a new pickup truck for the wastewater treatment plant.
For more information, call (603) 356-5382.