Falmouth Select board will discuss at its May 10 meeting whether the fire department will close a fire station once a new station on Sandwich Road is built and operational.
Despite overwhelming support for the new station, it has sparked a debate over whether the West Falmouth fire station will be closed and, if not, how the town plans on staffing six stations. Town Meeting members voted on April 12 to build the new station near the George Gaspa Sports Complex, bringing the total number of fire stations to six. The location would address the gaps in the town’s emergency response coverage serving the northeast section of town, according to a citizen’s advisory committee charged with determining a future site.
Select board chairwoman Megan E. English Braga said Falmouth Fire Chief Timothy Smith will also participate in the five or six station model conversation at their next meeting.
“We won’t be making a decision, rather inviting a debate and broader discussion,” she said.
Select board member Nancy R. Taylor asked for a comparison of Falmouth firefighter salaries with surrounding towns.
“It would be beneficial to see our retention levels,” she said. “When we hire them, are we keeping them or are they moving on to other communities?” she asked.
Ms. Braga agreed it would be good information to have.
In related news, the board approved the creation of a Future Fire Station Advisory Committee that will help move the project forward.
Town Manager Julian M. Suso said the committee will work with the town and the project manager in selecting an architect. The members should have experience with construction management or financing, he said.
Board member Samuel H. Patterson said these types of committees, akin to the Falmouth Senior Center Building Committee, are invaluable in making sure the projects are completed within budget and on schedule.
“It’s an appropriate way to look out for the citizens’ interests,” he said.
Mr. Suso said the town can begin advertising for candidates that will be brought to the board.