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Elmwood referendum passes on second go

The second time's the charm for the Elmwood Park Fire District.

A public referendum held Tuesday, April 12, passed 87-79, giving the fire district the OK to bond up to $265,000 to purchase a six-acre plot of land behind the North Bethlehem firehouse. The Elmwood Park Fire District funds the North Bethlehem Fire Department.

A February vote had ended up in a tie, and since then the fire department has held two public meetings. Though Tuesday's voter turnout was but a sliver of the roughly 3,000 residents in the district, for a fire district issue anything in the triple digits is considered a strong showing.

Most of our votes over the last 10 years have been 25 people, said North Bethlehem Fire Department Chief Paul Fuino.

The district will take $50,000 out of its building improvement fund to supplement the borrowing. Also, the plan is to sell off portions of the property, including a trailer included in the sale. The bonds will be taken for one year, and hopefully money from the sale will cut down on debt service.

"The minute the property is in our hands, we're going to have the real estate agent in," Fuino said. "Hopefully next year when the renewal comes up we won't have to renew as much."

Once the land is paid off the department will look at building an accessory structure for storage, operations and training. There is also talk of carving some nature trails out for community use.

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