Tight vote in Elmwood Park Fire District

The outcome of a vote last night in the Elmwood Park Fire District is not yet clear, and it could come to a tie.

96 people turned out to cast their vote on authorizing the district to borrow money to purchase a 6-acre parcel of land next to the North Bethlehem firehouse. Though the initial count shows the measure passing, two questionable ballots could tip the outcome back to a tie depending on how they're ruled.

The votes were tallied on paper ballots, and the markings on two were unclear, said North Bethlehem Fire Department Chief Paul Fuino. The votes will be reviewed by the Board of Elections, and if there is a tie the district would have the option of calling another vote on bonding the $315,000 needed for the purchase.

Though there's about 3,000 people in the fire district, votes rarely see such a large turnout, Fuino said, and some clearly felt strongly about the issue.

One person said to me, 'I wish this firehouse would burn down,' Fuino said. "It was something I don't think we've ever seen before."

Department officials said the land was being sought to keep a buffer between the firehouse (and its activity) and residences, and also to make way for a new shed. Space is becoming a premium inside the firehouse during some operations, Fuino said.

A decision on the two questionable votes should be made in a few days.""

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