Public to weigh in again on fire truck

Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a nearly 25-year-old fire engine in front of Beacon Hose Company No. 1 last April. Novak was hired at the same the department bought the engine. An informational town meeting will be held to discuss how to proceed with buying a new fire truck after the town missed the deadline to apply for a grant. –FILE PHOTO

Beacon Falls firefighter and emergency medical technician Kurt Novak stands next to a nearly 25-year-old fire engine in front of Beacon Hose Company No. 1 last April. Novak was hired at the same the department bought the engine. Another informational town meeting will be held to discuss buying a new fire truck after the town missed the deadline to apply for a grant. –FILE PHOTO

BEACON FALLS — Residents will have another chance to voice their opinions on the purchase of a new fire truck.

The Board of Selectmen voted on Feb. 10 to hold an informational town meeting to update the residents on where the purchase of the fire truck stands and get their input on how to move forward. As of this post the board had not set a date for the meeting.

Last  September, the town voted to authorize a $700,000 bond resolution to purchase the truck. The resolution stipulated no money would be bonded for the truck before July 1, 2014 as the town applied for a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program to help pay for it.  

However, the town’s eligibility for the grant came under question due to the wording of the resolution.

As the town tried to determine whether it was eligible, officials didn’t press forward with applying for the grant and missed the deadline to do so.

After learning about the deadline, First Selectman Christopher Bielik sought advice from the town attorney, who said the town could move forward with the purchase.

During January’s Board of Finance meeting, however, the board felt that the town did not meet the intent of the resolution. The finance board recommended the Board of Selectmen hold another public hearing and town meeting to take another vote on the fire truck before moving forward.

Bielik said Monday it’s ultimately up to the Board of Selectmen to decide what direction they wanted to go, but recommended that they listen to the Board of Finance.

“I think the Board of Finance does raise a valid consideration. Even though we are legally allowed to proceed forward I think that a public hearing on the entire process so that people understand how we got to where we are today is probably, at the very least, a good idea. I think people need to have information. More information is better,” Bielik said.

Bielik said the residents are the governing body of the town and that it would be important to hear their will.

Selectman Dominick Sorrentino echoed Bielik’s sentiments.

“We have to share it with them and get their input,” Sorrentino said.

The board decided to hold an informational town meeting rather than a voting town meeting. At the end of the town meeting, depending on how the people have responded, the board will choose what the next step is, Bielik said.

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