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Late fees may help pay for Warwick fire station

Tax collector will match public donations with his own compensation

Recorder/Peter MacDonald
The Warwick Volunteer Firemen’s Association says it has enough money to break ground on a new public safety complex to replace the current fire station, seen above.

Recorder/Peter MacDonald The Warwick Volunteer Firemen’s Association says it has enough money to break ground on a new public safety complex to replace the current fire station, seen above.

WARWICK — Several late tax payments could end up benefitting a privately funded fire station project.

Tax Collector Terry Kemerer has announced that he’ll match donations for a new public safety complex received by March 20, up to a total of $1,000. The money will come from the $10 demand fees he’s assessed on more than 150 late tax payments.

Like some towns, Warwick includes late fees as part of the tax collector’s compensation. The collector has the option to spend that money however he sees fit — make an extra car payment, take a vacation, or donate it to a worthy cause.

“Residents’ late (tax) payment demand fees have been very lucrative for me as of late,” explained Kemerer. “I have decided to use this unexpected windfall to encourage folks to make donations.”

The Warwick Fireman’s Association has been collecting donations and holding events to fund a new fire station for more than 10 years, and it’s now becoming a reality. The group hopes to break ground on the station this spring. Last month, Fire Chief Ronald Gates said the group had enough money to hire someone to dig and pour the foundation, and buy materials so firefighters, many of whom are contractors, can start putting up the building.

“We don’t have enough money to complete it; our hopes are to get the building up and enclosed,” said Fire Capt. Joseph Paul at a recent Selectboard meeting.

The unfinished building will be a monument to the group’s progress, showing the town that the project is coming to fruition.

The association hopes this will spur further donations, so it can complete finishing work like wiring, plumbing, and siding the building.

When it’s done, the building will house the fire and police departments, as well as the emergency management director.

The town’s present fire station was built by the association in 1952, but its two overhead doors can’t fit today’s larger fire engines. The new building will have three bays for the fire department, so it will be able to fit six vehicles parked in tandem.

The Fire Department hopes to have enough work done on the building to apply for a grant toward a new fire engine next year. However, the department can’t get the grant without a place to garage the engine.

How to donate

If you’d like to make a donation, checks may be made out and sent to the Warwick Fireman’s Association building fund, 12 Athol Road, Warwick MA 01378.

David Rainville can be reached at:
drainville@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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