All articles approved at Onset Fire District Meeting

May 17, 2021

With little fanfare and limited discussion, voters at the Onset Fire District Annual Meeting passed all 25 articles on the warrant.

In total, 39 voters gathered at the Onset VFW on Monday, May 17, at 7:30 p.m. to conduct fire district business.

Most of the articles on the warrant related to the district’s routine financial matters such as paying salaries and allocating funds for workers’ benefits. Nearly all of those articles — which largely accomplish routine business to keep the district running — passed unanimously after almost no discussion.

Voters were also asked to give the Prudential Committee the authority to sell, rent or lease the fire district’s current headquarters at 5 East Central Ave., which will be vacant once the district’s new station on Sand Pond Road opens. 

At the beginning of the meeting, Fire Station Building Committee Chair David Halberstadt reported that “it looks like by the end of this month, possibly into the first week of June,” the new fire station should be finished — at least enough for the department to move its operation. 

Lisa Morales, a fire district resident, raised questions about exactly which property the district was asking to sell or lease. The district owns buildings at both 5 and 9 East Central Ave.

District leaders clarified that the warrant only referred to the current station at 5 East Central Ave., and the article was not amended.

Prudential Committee member Charles Klueber explained that with the department moving into the new station soon, the committee has taken suggestions from residents about what to do with the building and hopes to explore its options further. Klueber said the Prudential Committee needed a District Meeting approval to move forward with a request for proposals process, a lease or a rental agreement. 

“I can’t say exactly what is going to happen, but we have been approached by different entities looking to use the existing fire station,” Klueber said. “Some nonprofit, but, more importantly, we’ve had a commercial company come to us to use it for housing their equipment — they want to lease it from the district.”

In that arrangement — which would require a formal request for proposals process — Klueber said the company that approached the district “said we could keep an engine in the building at that station.”

This was a concern residents expressed in past discussions, he said, given that the new fire station is not located in Onset Village.

When discussing the article, a voter raised that very issue. 

“I think we should keep one piece of apparatus in that station,” he said. “All you need is a major accident over there where they put the new station — they can’t get out for two, three minutes on the highway. That’s all it takes to lose somebody.”

The article passed, with only two residents voting “no.” It was the only article to receive more than one opposition vote. 

Officials reminded District Meeting attendees that the fire district’s annual election will be held at the VFW on Tuesday, May 18 from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

On the ballot will be one year-long seat as moderator, one three-year seat on the Prudential Committee, and one three-year seat for a Water Commissioner.