Loan proposal goes 5 for 5 at referendum

Camille Frate of Beacon Falls signs into to vote during a referendum Thursday at Laurel Ledge School on a proposed five-part loan package. All five parts of the proposal were approved. –LUKE MARHSALL

BEACON FALLS — Residents approved all five parts of a $1.4 million loan package at a referendum on Thursday.

The 10-year loan included large ticket items that town officials felt were imperative to the maintenance and safety of the town. Some of the items in the loan include the refurbishment of Beacon Hose Company No. 1’s ambulance, a waste water treatment study, the streetscape project, and the work done to Blackberry Hill Road.

The referendum vote drew 554 people.

All questions authorized issuing bonds or notes. Voters appropriated $206,700 for various road and streetscape projects; $294,356 for various public safety equipment acquisitions, refurbishments and facility improvements; $427,660 for various sanitary sewer system projects; $61,034 for various technology upgrades; $152,450 for acquisition a dump truck, loader and related public works equipment.

First Selectman Gerard Smith was very pleased with the results of the referendum.

Smith explained this victory represented the culmination of hard work from both the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance.

“It was a joint effort and a joint victory. It’s a good day for the people of Beacon Falls,” Smith said.

Board of Finance member James Huk expressed similar feelings when he came to cast his vote during the referendum. He explained he was voting because he knows how much work has gone into creating the loan and making it into something the town can accept.

“The town needs it,” Huk said.

The approved budget for 2012-13 includes $28,000 to cover interest for the borrowed money. The annual principal and interest payments would not begin until the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Not everyone came out in support of the loan.

Camille Frate, a resident of Beacon Falls, said she moved to town because she wanted an easier life. Frate, a senior citizen, explained the increase in taxes has made just living and getting by more difficult.

“The taxes are affecting us badly,” Frate said.

For most people, a vote for approval of the loan meant a vote for improvements to the town.

“Our infrastructure in this town is in desperate need of repair. That’s why I voted yes,” former Beacon Hose Chief Doug Bousquet said.

For Bousquet, the vote wasn’t just about the money.

“It’s a good town. I’ve been here all my life. I’ve raised my family here,” Bousquet said.

Smith said now that the loan has been approved the town can immediately begin moving forward with some items included in the loan, such as the waste water treatment study and the payloader.

The town is still shopping around for the best prices for the vehicles that were included in the loan. The fire department will also be moving forward with its purchases now that the loan has been approved.

Beacon Hose spokesman Jeremy Rodorigo was pleased with the way the vote turned out. He felt it reflected how important safety was to the residents of Beacon falls.

Rodorigo said the department will purchase 10 new defibrillators soon. The current defibrillators are approximately 10 years old and are only safe to be used on adults.

The proposed new defibrillators will be safe for adults and children and meet all the current guidelines.

“[The old ones] saved lives, the new ones will save more,” Rodorigo said.

Beacon Hose to buy used ambulance while current one is fixed

BEACON FALLS — Now that the loan package has been approved, Beacon Hose Company No.1 is able to move forward with the refurbishments to the ambulance.

Beacon Hose has received all the specifications of what is needed to refurbish the ambulance. The next step is to go out to bid.

Beacon Hose spokesman Jeremy Rodorigo said once a bid is selected the refurbishment will take between three and five months to complete.

He explained an ambulance is basically two parts, the chassis and the box.

The ambulance’s chassis, which is currently a 1999 Chevy, will be replaced with a 2012 Dodge chassis, he said. The box will receive minor updates, such as new upholstery.

During these three to five months the ambulance will be out of commission. Beacon Hose is looking to purchase a used ambulance to use during the time the ambulance is getting worked on, Rodorigo explained. Once the work has finished on the current ambulance, Beacon Hose will sell off the used ambulance, he said.

Rodorigo explained Beacon Hose decided to refurbish the current because it was significantly less expensive than buying a new one.