Pownal voters to consider two petitions at town meeting

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POWNAL — Two petitions, each seeking funding, are set for the town meeting warning this year.

Voters will consider a $20,000 request from the Pownal Valley Fire Department, for the purpose of establishing a building fund, along with a request for $2,000 from the Pownal Valley Swinging Seniors, a social group of local seniors.

The Pownal Valley Fire Department has not requested funding from the town for a building fund before, but it receives funding from the town usually every year for operations and maintenance, as well as for trucks and equipment, said Jason Olansky, chief of the fire department.

The ultimate goal, Olansky said, is to build a new fire station, or replace part of the current building with a new addition.

The current fire station, at the corner of North Pownal Road and Route 7, is 70 years old, he said.

"We have several walls that are deteriorating," he said.

Olansky said he is optimistic that voters will approve the request.

"I would hope people would understand that it's important to maintain our emergency [infrastructure]," he said.

The total cost for a new building would be somewhere in the $400,000-$500,000 range, Olansky said.

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Officials are also in the process of doing some other legwork, he said. They've spoken with an engineering firm and also had an asbestos abatement study, which showed some minor asbestos in the floor of the building that would have to be remediated, he said.

The Pownal Valley Swinging Seniors are also requesting funds to help with their activities.

"We have never been a funded organization," said Annette Dixon, of the seniors' group. "We have no income, other than cashing in soda bottles. It really limits what activities we can do."

For years, she said, the group has been carpooling to go on trips, but there are many in the group who can no longer drive, and that makes it difficult for those who can to transport everyone.

"We were looking to see if we could have some funds for activities like being able to rent a bus to be able to go to like Lake George," she said.

Only about 4-5 of the group's about 25 members are still able to drive, she said.

The petitions required 125 signatures; the Pownal Valley Fire Department received 140, and the seniors' group received 145, said Linda Sciarappa, administrative assistant, in an email.

The signatures have been authenticated, and the petitions are set for the town meeting warning in March, Sciarappa confirmed.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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