BEACON FALLS — Voters last week overwhelmingly approved bonding up to $1.2 million for capital items, including a new fire truck for Beacon Hose Company No. 1.
The largest item up for a vote was a 75-foot quintuple combination pumper fire truck. Voters approved, 68-13, bonding up to $850,000 for the truck at June 8 town meeting.
Beacon Hose Fire Chief James Trzaski said the quint will replace one of the department’s engines that was purchased in 1989. The new truck will have a pumper and a 75-foot aerial, which is a maneuverable, telescoping ladder, he added.
“Most people look at an aerial truck and think it is just for getting to the roof of a house, but there are other advantages to it. It could be a highpoint anchor if somebody is trapped in a hole or trench. If we have somebody down an embankment for a slope rescue an aerial device will go below grade,” Trzaski said.
Trzaski added the department has to consider future development in town, including the proposed fuel cell energy park and a propane storage facility, when looking at equipment.
“We will have a better advantage of applying water from a further distance, so we wouldn’t have to put our members in unneeded risk,” Trzaski said.
Trzaski said the department will be ordering the truck soon and hopes to have the truck within 10 months.
“We’ve been designing this truck for the last seven years,” Trzaski said.
Trzaski said the truck is expected to cost approximately $800,000. The other $50,000 from the bond will go towards new equipment for the truck.
“What has historically happened is, when you got a new vehicle, you would take the old equipment off of the old apparatus and put it on the new apparatus. Well Engine 1 is carrying equipment from 1954. So what we are looking to do is to get all updated, brand new equipment on the apparatus,” Trzaski said.
First Selectman Christopher Bielik said approval to buy the fire truck cleared up an issue that has been plaguing the town for years.
“It had strong backing from the entire Board of Selectmen and the Board of Finance. We worked closely with the fire department. They understood the direction we were going when we were looking for alternative funding in previous years. When those opportunities didn’t avail themselves our commitment was to bring this to the town and for the town to fund it. I believe that we see the results of this tonight, that everybody recognizes the need, and I am glad everybody supported it,” Bielik said.
Voters approved, 67-13, bonding $110,000 for a Ford F-550 dump truck with a plow and sander for the public works department, and $130,000 for two Ford Explorers for the police department, 63-17.
Voters also approved, 64-17, the purchase a tractor with a boom mower for $120,000. The mower will be used to cut brush that grows along the side of the roads throughout town.
In addition to the four capital items, voters approved, 64-17, $80,000 for brokers and other associated costs to go out to bond.
Economic Development Commission Chairman Jack Betkoski said all the items will help market the town to potential businesses.
“People coming to Beacon Falls look at the type of public safety we are providing and they look at the roads,” Betkoski said. “All these items that were passed tonight are items that will enhance the town as we promote Beacon Falls.”
Bielik was pleased with the support shown by the voters.
“I am gratified that all five of these questions passed tonight. Everything that’s on this list is something that is necessary and is going to be beneficial in moving the town forward,” Bielik said.