Good and bad news on space needs

LYNDEBOROUGH – The Police Department is badly in need of more space, but the Fire Department has found it can make do for another five years with a little adjusting.

That’s what Police Chief Jim Basinas and Fire Chief Rick McQuade told the Capital Improvements Plan Committee on Tuesday night while discussing long-range plans.

Basinas said his major problems are privacy and security. His department is essentially one large room where there is no place to protect confidentiality, separate juveniles from adults as required by law, and maintain security. He also lacks adequate secure storage for evidence.

Basinas said he has looked into the possibility of renting a portable office trailer, which would provide two offices plus a reception area in the center. Rent is about $6,000 per year, he said, and he has spoken with officials at the post office about using the space at the rear of their parking lot.

Other expenses would involve hooking up to utilities and a septic system, which might be worked out with the post office.

“They have no problem with this,” Basinas said, but they told him he would have to discuss it with the owner of the property since the U.S. Postal Service only holds a long-term lease.

Budget Committee Chairman Burton Reynolds suggested he continue his study and list all of the department’s needs.

For several years, the Fire Department has been discussing the need for a new station because the fire truck it expects to purchase next year would be too tall to get into the present station on Route 31. That is no longer the case, McQuade said.

“The truck can be modified to fit, so we will be OK as far as equipment goes,” he said. “And the new trucks have a tighter turning radius,” making the turns into and out of the station safer.

The distance between the edge of Route 31 and the doors is less than the length of a truck. “When we found vendors who could supply what we need,” he said, “we felt we couldn’t ask the taxpayers for a new station.”

The truck to be retired is a 1977 model for which parts are no longer available.

McQuade said there is still the need for a new station or substation in the next five or 10 years, possibly a substation in the center.

If the department stays in the old station, he said, it would have to consider dipping into the department’s capital reserve fund for renovations. The town has been putting $20,000 per year into the fund.

Reynolds suggested a warrant article for March that would make the selectmen agents for the fund, allowing money to be withdrawn for repairs without having to go to a town meeting.

The committee also discussed use of the Central School, should the district vote to build a new school on another site. The suggestion has been made that the present school be converted to a safety complex.

Reynolds said it would be at least two years before any school move was made.

A vote on the school’s future will be taken in March, but the School Board has not yet decided which of several options it will suggest.