HANOVER TOWNSHIP — An information session regarding Whippany Fire District 2 will be held on Wednesday, August 7 at the Hanover Community Center, 15 North Jefferson Road to discuss the referendum to seek approval to spend up to $6.1 million for completion of the new firehouse on Troy Hills Road.
The session will start at 7:00 p.m. so members of the fire district can discuss details of the referendum, interest rates and other finances. A representative from the Morris County Improvements Authority, through which the loan would be secured is expected to attend the session.
Registered voters living in Whippany Fire District 2 are eligible to vote on the referendum on Saturday, August 10. Voting will take place at the Commissioner’s Building, 434 Route 10.
Approval of the referendum amounts to a transfer of a loan originally secured by Whippany Fire Company to the Whippany Fire District No. 2, which would become the owner of the new building and be leased to the fire company.
Township Committeeman Brian Cahill is supporting the referendum.
“The Whippany Fire Department decided to build a new fire house on their own initiative,” Kuehner wrote. “They got a construction loan for over $3 million. (They do) not have the money to pay off the loan. (Their) solution is to have the taxpayers approve a $ 6.2 million loan from the state. Interest on the loan would be an additional $2.5 million.”
Cahill said the fire company would only only used the $ 6.1 million if the sale of the old Whippany firehouse – which is under contract to be sold – falls through. “The actual amount borrowed should drop to about $4.9 million, Cahill wrote.
“Our Whippany Fire first responders are at a critical juncture now and need the community’s help,” Cahill wrote. “They have an opportunity to replace their current $3 million variable rate construction loan with a low-interest fixed rate loan administered by the Morris County Improvement Authority.”
He added the average taxpayer in Whippany would likely see a fire district tax increase of about $12 per year or $1.00 per month.
“No one likes it when taxes go up, but I hope you will agree this is a relatively small price to get the new firehouse completed. Our support will also send a clear message to our first responders that we are grateful for all they do to keep us safe,” Cahill wrote.
The fire company owns the current Route 10 firehouse, but uses the trucks and equipment provided by the fire district.
The current firehouse is under contract for sale with a proposed Starbucks to be built on the site. Route 10 Whippany, LLC. is the application that submitted proposals to the Hanover Township Planning Board. The are planning on constructing a new 2,250 square foot restaurant with a drive-through with 24 parking spots.
If the building is sold, the money would go toward repayment of the loan.
Money from the new loan would pay off the current firehouse construction loan from Provident Back which remains around $3 million.