The Winthrop Town Council voted unanimously this week to accept a $1.8 million bid from an Augusta construction company to build a fire station on U.S. Route 202, replacing the one that’s now on Main Street.

That bid, from Blane Casey Building Contractor, was lower than the $2.1 million that officials originally were expecting the project to cost, according to Fire Chief Dan Brooks. It was the lowest of six construction bids, all between $1.8 million and $1.9 million.

“The council was pretty pleased it came under what we had hoped,” Council Chairwoman Sarah Fuller said Tuesday, a day after the council voted on the project.

The project will be paid for with a 25-year-loan as well as $450,000 in grant funding that an anonymous donor has pledged for it.

In late December, three councilors voted against seeking bids for the new fire station, in part because of their concerns about a $700,000 shortfall in the budget of the Winthrop School Department that officials are now trying to repay.

But Fuller said the lower-than-expected project cost and promised grants were among the reasons the council supported the project with a 7-0 vote this week. Councilors also appreciated favorable interest rates on the loans they will take out for the work, she said.

The project is not expected to increase taxes, according to local officials, because the town already has been making annual payments of $127,000 to repay a separate, unrelated loan. That loan was retired last year, and Fuller said the annual repayment now will be closer to $107,000 a year.

According to Brooks, the new firehouse will be about 9,500 square feet in size and include a four-bay garage with additional space for a boat, an all-terrain-vehicle and other equipment. The Winthrop station also will include offices, training rooms, a kitchen, a lobby and parking.

“We’re all very excited,” Brooks said of the council’s vote. “It’s affirmation of the council’s support for the Fire Department. We’re appreciative of that. Between the donations and it coming in under budget, it came to the point where it couldn’t get any less than expected.”

He said the project will begin as soon as weather permits, and could continue through late next fall.

With the $450,000 in grant funding putting a dent in the project’s costs, Brooks said he thinks the annual loan repayments that will be covered in future town budgets may even be less than $107,000.

“I think it will be a figure less than $1.8 (million),” he said of the project’s final price tag. “That’s a good thing to know.”

The new station will replace the nearly 70-year-old station the department uses on Main Street. Parking is limited there, and traffic has to be blocked when trucks exit and enter, Brooks has said. Built in 1947, its floor is not strong enough to support a new engine the department also is hoping to acquire.

Charles Eichacker — 621-5642

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Twitter: @ceichacker