Van Buren officials make $46,930 payment to fire station engineers

3 weeks ago

VAN BUREN, Maine – Van Buren officials voted on May 1 to pay Presque Isle-based BR Smith Associates $46,930 for part of their engineering work on a new fire station.

BR Smith Associates has been working with the town on this project for over a year, and Town Manager Luke Dyer suggested paying them for the work they have completed up to this point during the last town council meeting.

The new fire station will be among the town’s most significant projects this year. It will also include a training center, which could provide the town with additional revenue. The new building, which officials hope to build on 59 Main Street, will be 105 feet by 120 feet and include four truck bays. 

It will also let the fire department consolidate equipment storage. The department currently has gear in four different buildings, a space on the outskirts of town, a building on the Alexandra Road, a tiny building on Van Buren Cove, in addition to the current space on Washington Avenue.

The town has submitted a $2.2 million congressionally directed spending (CDS) request for the project, which is estimated to cost $2.8 million altogether. The remaining portion of the project will need to be covered either by the town or via additional grants.

“We’re filling the gap between what the actual cost is and what they’re giving us to do the project,” Town Manager Luke Dyer said. “So we can pay them, and we owe them about $47,000, so we should at least pay a portion.”

He said that BR Smith Associates are also working with the town on a community connectivity hub project.

“They’re going to be working with us on other projects, and they’re easy to work with,” he said.

Councilor Anne Marie Poitras asked if paying this now would impact any funding the town receives for the project in the future. Dyer said it would not.

“They’re not going to say ‘that isn’t part of your match,’ because there isn’t really a match,” Dyer said. “It’s more of a gap than a match.”

The total cost for the engineering work is roughly 10 percent of the entire project’s cost, or close to $300,000. And while Dyer originally suggested making a $30,000 payment, the council decided to pay the full $46,930 for current services rendered for fire station work. The money will come out of the town’s discretionary funds.

Dyer said earlier in the meeting that the town and engineers needed to answer a few minor questions and make some adjustments to the CDS application before sending it back to congressional officials. He said that it should be submitted by the end of the week.