A vote to determine whether or not the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire and Water District can move forward with building an $11.7 million ambulance unit on Cumberland Avenue in Lake Success may be delayed following a meeting Tuesday night in Manhasset.
The district held a public meeting at the department’s company #2 firehouse at 2 Community Drive East in Manhasset where members of the public disapproved of the proposed location for the district to build a sixth firehouse, one solely dedicated to the ambulance unit.
If approved, the district would build a two-story, 5,168-square-foot building that has four bays total, three for the unit’s ambulances and one for the first response vehicle.
Among the many objections for the proposed building in Lake Success was the lack of a traffic study, which Commissioner Steve Flynn said he and the two other commissioners, Mark Sauvigne and Brian Morris, said they are open to.
A decision to move forward with a traffic study on the area where the ambulance unit would be built, which would delay the June 6 vote, would be determined at the next board of commissioners meeting on Tuesday, May 30 at 4:00 p.m., Morris told Blank Slate Media.
“I feel like this project is getting rammed down our throats,” Great Neck’s Adrienne Vaultz said during the public portion of the meeting. “They are not considering our quality of life or the safety of our children.”
Currently, the fire department’s ambulance unit has been sharing space with company #3 in Great Neck since 1988 in a building originally built for one company, Capt. Lee Genser said Tuesday night.
“Tonight comes down to safety, efficiency and EMS. The patient comes first,” Genser said. “Everything revolves around the patient that we’re dispatched to take care of. Want we want to do is be the most efficient we can to respond to and treat that patient.”
The fire department is part of the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire and Water District, which owns the proposed land and takes in all of Manhasset except for Plandome, half of Great Neck and some of northern New Hyde Park.
The district serves approximately 45,000 customers within a service area of 10.2 square miles, according to its website.
In 2022, the ambulance unit was dispatched to 1,230 calls, Genser said
Current issues with sharing a space with Company #3 include double stacking vehicles in the department’s bay, inadequate space for vehicles and first responders to move around the apparatus floor during emergencies, limited office space and bunk space for first responders doing an overnight shift, Genser said.
The ambulance unit currently has one bay at the company for two ambulances. The unit’s third is stored at a different location and the first response vehicle is kept in the parking lot, which leaves the medication inside it susceptible to outside elements if not taken care of properly, Genser said.
The anticipated maximum project cost is $11,706,044 for the total project, according to the district.
Sauvigne responded to many concerns over unexpected increases to the cost by clarifying that the district would need to issue another vote to spend more than the current amount on the June ballot.
“If we got out to bid and the costs come in higher, I’m telling you right now we are not moving forward with the project,” Sauvigne said. “We’re going to do something that is financially correct.”
Anticipated hard costs of the project, which account for the physical materials, labor and equipment that go into the construction of the building, is $9,590,544.
Soft costs for the project, which may include consulting fees, interior equipment or furniture, amount to $2,115,500.
Sauvigne said that if approved, the project would not cause taxes to exceed the 2% state-mandated tax cap in the next fiscal year.
A state grant of $1 million was secured by state Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Port Washington) in 2022 and goes toward the approximate $3.5 million that has already been allotted for the project in reserve funds, Sauvigne said.
If the vote is not delayed, the district’s vote will be at the department’s Company #2 firehouse on 2 Community Drive East, Manhasset from noon to 9:00 p.m.